The Advantages of Minimal Web Design
Each website’s design should reflect its purpose. It is all too easy to allow an enthrallment with glitzy add-ons to take attention away from the core message of the web page. With the vast assortment of apps, widgets, and special effects that it is possible to apply to a web site these days, it is easy to forget the benefits obtained from keeping the overall layout and design simple. Some webmasters may think that maintaining a simple design would make their published site appear dated, thus costing them visitors. The truth is, overly graphics-heavy sites appear unprofessional, and contain a great many other drawbacks as well.
While it is common for novice webmasters to want to load their new site with all the latest flashy graphics, even with live streaming music and videos, the fact is that the more memory demands you make on the visitors hardware, the slower your site will load. This can cost a webmaster a significant portion of visitors, as most web users will not wait around forever for a website to load.
Having too many apps trying to load at the same time can leave the half-loaded website looking very unprofessional while it opens. By limiting the content of your homepage to text and some simple, static graphics, you can virtually guarantee that it will pop open and your visitor will have access to all your content without waiting endlessly for the component parts to pull themselves together.
Lightweight websites also have low bandwidth demands, this can be very important for webmasters who have to pay extra for exceeding a monthly bandwidth limit. While a video may only take up 6 megabytes in total, the fact that those 6 megabytes will be streamed to each visitor means that a webmaster whose hosting package only covers 10 gigabytes per month is likely to run through his bandwidth allowance within a week (assuming the website is heavily trafficked) and end up either paying expensive extra-bandwidth fees or risk of having his website shut off until the beginning of the next monthly period.
Conversely, a static web page with text, a few images, and maybe a band width sipping gif animation or two will take only a few hundred kilobytes of bandwidth to load per visitor, allowing the webmaster to stretch out bandwidth allowances a long way.
The previous issues focus more on functionality, but what about aesthetics? Since the homepage is usually the most visited, many webmaster squeeze as many links, apps, and graphs onto it as possible, in the hope that something there will catch a visitor’s eye. More often than not, the information overload resulting from this will drive the visitor to a less confusing competing website. By creating a simple homepage that lists only some of the key points, you will not be frightening away a significant proportion of your visitors with a wall of links and titles.
What about subpages? The number of subpages should be determined by the type of site the webmaster is trying to build. Contact, about us, and the balance focusing on the specific products or services you offer is more than enough.
Going through the effort of creating dozens of subpages that will receive visit counts in the single digits is senseless when much of the content could be condensed into shorter and more to the point pages. Simpler sites are much easier to navigate, and tend to attract more repeat visitors for this purpose.
A simple website is also easy to move. Whether you are using a multi-hosting company compatible web design suite, or simply copy-pasting from one online web site creator to another, minimalist web site designs transfer much easier between hosting platforms than over complicated sites do.
So there really are quite a few compelling reasons to keep a website relatively simple. Perhaps most important of all is the fact that simple sites are easier to update and maintain than an app-heavy monstrosity. The latest trend is quickly becoming smaller straight to the point websites designed for functionality, aesthetics, and smaller sizes.
Jorge Esposito enjoys working with small businesses. He helps them build their online presence, by helping them understand the options when it comes to web design.