Remember when you clicked on a website and music instantly started playing? Or when badges, ribbons, and starburst effects ruled? As with any emerging field, web design trends have evolved. The complex designs of yore have given way to simple, minimalist designs. The reason: A rising percentage of users access the web on their smartphones, so smart website designs are more mobile-responsive and feature cleaner arrangements.
But simplicity doesn’t mean boring. Check out how to manipulate these four website design elements in order to pack more punch into your author web presence.
Minimalism doesn’t mean defaulting to a basic font like Times New Roman or Calibri. There are thousands of fonts available, so choose one that matches your personality and writing style. Writers of horror novels might consider the font Chiller for the header, while authors of Colonial-era romances might try Baskerville Old Face.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind the following suggestions:
- Make sure the font you choose is whip-clean and easy to read, especially if you’re using large amounts of text.
- For landing pages of few words, err on the side of simplicity and use big, strong, boldface typography.
- For large blocks of text, consider using a bold, popping font for headlines and a more neutral, legible font for the body text.
- Consider using a font in a different color. Minimalist websites have fewer competing color design elements, making this a feasible choice.
Quiet Color Schemes
A well-designed website draws the viewer’s attention to the most important elements on the page. The color scheme isn’t necessarily one of them. Acid-yellow backgrounds or bold blocks of contrasting colors certainly have an impact, but on a smaller screen they can be distracting.
Quieter color schemes don’t yell at the viewer—yet they don’t have to be ho-hum, either. Basically, the “negative space” that’s the touchstone of minimalism draws attention to the elements you want the viewer to notice (like a distinct call to action). The latest trend of subdued, monochromatic color schemes can have a powerful effect, giving a sense of grandeur and luxury to any writer’s website.
Distinct Call To Action
As a writer, what do you want viewers to do when they land on your home page? Click through to a book excerpt? Sign up for your mailing list? For minimalist websites that work on smartphones as well as big screens, choosing a single, distinct call to action can make all the difference in meeting your goals.
But what should you do with that familiar navigation bar which offers a list of choices? Offering the viewer multiple choices goes against simplicity and can dilute the efficacy of your website. Fortunately, minimalism has developed a way around this conundrum, and it’s called the “hamburger icon.”
You may not know it, but you’ve seen the hamburger icon and have probably used it many times. A hamburger icon doesn’t actually look like a hamburger—it consists of three horizontal lines, one above the other.
Clicking on the hamburger icon brings a drop-down navigation menu. The three dots in a row are another example of this sort of icon, and Google Chrome uses three dots on top of one another. Savvy web surfers will recognize these icons and tap them to access multiple options.
Minimalism works because it provides distinct choices and vivid, emotional impressions. The best way to create a mood is through imagery that is uncluttered, high-definition, and full of “negative space.”
Some web design trends in imagery include:
- Skyscapes, vast ocean imagery, and mountaintops, as well as sparsely furnished indoor spaces with plenty of wall space in neutral colors.
- Oversized images that fill the webpage. These give the viewer a sense of stepping into a warm, familiar, or intriguing space.
- “Hero” headers. One of 2016’s biggest web design trends, hero headers are large, evocative images at the top of the webpage. Users can scroll down for more text.
The simplicity of the minimalist design is deceiving. To achieve it, you have to know your brand inside and out and be able to pinpoint your website’s main goal. The process of choosing the right fonts, color design, imagery, and your main call-to-action may seem to leave little room for pizzazz, but a simpler website doesn’t mean a ho-hum one. It means choosing your main message and then delivering it like a bolt of lightning.
Question: Is the main goal of your author website to 1) sell more books; 2) gain more newsletter subscribers; or 3) keep your current fans engaged?