When it comes to author websites, the old adage “less is more” often rings true. But there’s a fine line between effective minimalism and not enough information or pizzazz. Minimalism might appear to be a simple type of design to the untrained eye; however, good minimalism in Web design only looks easy. How do you know when to stop or when to keep going in terms of the content and aesthetic of your website? Let’s break it down.
The Pros And Cons Of Web Design Minimalism
Minimalism won’t overwhelm your visitors. Have you ever visited a website and been immediately turned off by the amount of information or colors splattered across the home page? Keeping your site clean in content and aesthetics will allow your readers to relax and easily find what they’re looking for. If too much is going on, visitors won’t know where to start (and probably won’t want to return).
The focus and goal of your site will be clear. Getting your point across to your visitors is easier than you’d imagine. If you want to be a minimalist, don’t muddle your home page with gobs of information and options that will only serve to distract your visitors. Keep the content succinct, and the purpose of your site will be clear from the start. If you have a specific call to action, like someone buying your new book, then a minimal design will help to focus all attention on what’s most important. This way, you can direct your reader to take the next step that YOU want him or her to take.
Simplicity equals compatibility. The more simplistic a website is, the more compatible it will be with the majority of browsers, monitors, and operating systems available worldwide. The more complicated you make your design, the less adaptable it will become to different screens and mobile devices.
Your website runs the risk of looking bland. A simple website shouldn’t equal a drab, boring website, but that can happen when minimalism isn’t done well. You don’t have to put black text on a white background and call it a day. Colors, structure, and font choice are all important even when designing a minimalistic website. You don’t want your site to look unfinished, but that is unfortunately a side effect of bad design.
Minimalistic sites can be a little too “familiar.” Since minimalism has been a trend in Web design for some time now, some minimalist sites have begun to look alike. Minimalism can sometimes make the designer feel like he/she has a finite number of options. It’s important to remember that you can think outside the box even within a minimalistic frame of mind.
Minimalism isn’t right for everyone. There are certain situations in which minimal Web design just won’t work. If you’re running a company that relies heavily on custom designs and branding, then minimalism might take away from the design-centric kind of site you need to succeed. Also, if you know that your visitors will be looking for many options, and they want those options to be accessible on the home page, then minimalism might not work. Know your audience and your brand before deciding if a minimal design is right for you.
A Few Tips For General Web Design
Choose a font that speaks to the content of your site. Not everything has to be Times New Roman just because you’re going for simplicity. A font that’s suited to your taste will help make your website pop in all the right places.
Minimalism isn’t all black and white. Good minimalism can work with colors while still maintaining a subtle, non-aggressive aesthetic. This is best done by choosing two or three colors to work with and leaving it at that.
Feel free to play with the structure of your site. Not all navigation bars need to exist in the same place. You can be creative with your sidebars, content blocks, and menus to create a space that is different from others on the Web.
Good minimalism looks easy, but when it comes down to it, it’s much harder to design a website that strips the content down to the essentials than it is to create a site that can loosely and liberally include links, calls to action, and options for visitors.
With minimalism, you can still make your author website entirely your own. It’s just a matter of knowing if minimalism is the right fit for you.
QUESTION: What do you find most difficult about minimal Web design?
I like minimalist web design, but to work, I think the writer and the designer have to have a deep and functional understanding of
1. what information people are looking for from the site
2. what order they’ll want to get the information
3. how to gently direct users through the pages in a specific and welcome way
Looking forward to having web design relief work on my author website–even if it’s not minimalism!