7 Features of Minimalist Website Design

Minimalism is a well-known art technique that perfectly suits the needs and ideas of contemporary website design.

With its official doctrine being “less is more,” minimalism is eager to give users exactly what they need without adding a single redundant element to the page.

It’s a kind of tactic that makes minimalism very user-friendly, which is the focal point of today’s web design. According to recent studies:

  • Almost 80% of people who don’t like what they find on one website will go back and search for another site
  • About 40% of users will stop engaging if they find the content or layout of a website shabby and tatty

In such circumstances, the ultimate objective of your website should be to make it easy and intuitive in the eyes of the target audience. Minimalism might as well help you with that, but you need to understand how it works and learn the basics of this style.

Our post will present you the concept of minimalism, its pros and cons, as well as seven features of minimalist website design. Let’s begin!

Minimalism: Definition, Pros, and Cons

What is minimalism? By definition, it is a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. In other words, the goal of this strategy is to achieve maximum impact using the bare minimum of elements.

However, such a drastic approach to design doesn’t come without some advantages and downsides. The most important pros of minimalism are these:

  • Quality user experience: Website visitors are not overloaded with too many components, so they can enjoy the time spent on page.
  • Content-focused: Minimalism puts an emphasis on content, forcing users to concentrate on the main features.
  • Faster loading time: The fewer elements on your website, the faster it can load. This advantage is extremely important because the average user expects a webpage to load within three seconds.
  • Exclusivity: Minimalist websites often look unique and exclusive, which makes the brand look more attractive.
  • Memorable: Another pro of this style is that always looks different and therefore memorable.
  • Evergreen: Minimalism is not a new trend. It’s been around for decades and doesn’t seem to fade, so you don’t have to worry about changing website appearance every once in a while.
  • Simple maintenance: Once again, fewer elements mean you don’t have to work as hard in order to keep the site functional.

You’ve seen the benefits of a well-crafted minimalist design strategy, but here’s what happens in case something goes wrong:

  • Limited communication: Minimalism forces you to remove everything but the fundamentals. This means you cannot communicate a lot of interesting website elements.
  • No scaling opportunities: Businesses grow and evolve, so sometimes it’s necessary to add new features to the main page. With minimalism, this usually doesn’t work too well.
  • Lack of creativity: Some people consider minimalism to be a genuine creativity killer. While this may be true in a way, the fact remains that creative designers don’t have a problem working in the minimalist environment.

Main Characteristics of Minimalist Web Design

You now know the basic features of minimalism, but it’s time to go through its main characteristics more thoroughly. We selected the seven most important traits of this design form:

1. Limited color palette

Limited color palette

Colors play a major role in all web design projects, but they make an even bigger influence on minimalism. In this style, colors don’t only fulfill the aesthetical purpose but also serve as interest boosters with the goal inspire user interest and grab their attention.

Bearing in mind the content scarcity, it is natural to let the colors do their job and make the remaining few elements noticeable. This can be considered a genuine relief compared to flashy colors that dominated the Internet in the last couple of decades.

A clever use of contrast is critical to the success of the minimalist design. While your goal is to eliminate everything but content essentials, you must not reduce the discoverability of the remaining items. On the contrary, you should choose the right shades and hues to highlight the main features.

You can also take advantage of accent colors, but do it sparingly. That way, you can emphasize major features even further without abandoning the minimalist design idea.

2. Negative space

Negative space

No one beats minimalists when it comes to negative space exploitation. Minimalists are experts at finding alternative ways to utilize negative space because it means much more to them than to other web designers. They maximize the space between content to accentuate the significance of each component.

In such circumstances, it’s much easier to organize elements and create a simple and intuitive webpage structure. Besides that, minimalist websites usually create the notion of luxury, particularly if you pick white or black as the background color.

Negative space is one of the defining features of minimalism, but you still need to be careful before adding too much of it to the website. Why is that so?

First of all, you have to predict how negative space affects the entire webpage structure. Will you be able to communicate all elements successfully? If yes, you’re good to go.

Secondly, you shouldn’t allow negative space to interfere with the page fold content. The idea is not to force users to scroll down to find the content they need, but rather to notice it immediately because of the negative space you created.

3. Hidden Global Navigation

Hidden Global Navigation

A vast majority of minimalist designers use the so-called hamburger menu to organize and structure their websites. They do it because they want to hide global navigation and put it all in one place. That way, the navigation menu does not jeopardize the whole idea behind the minimalist layout.

Some designers, however, consider hamburger menus to be old and obsolete. The reason is obvious – it hides important features from the landing page and slows down navigation. As a consequence, the user experience is not as simple as it should be.

On the other hand, we strongly believe that hamburger menus represent a valuable solution for the number of reasons:

  • Website visitors already understand how it works and don’t have a problem using it
  • Hamburger menus narrow down the options and therefore simplify the process of finding the desired content
  • The feature encourages direct access. Users don’t have to go through several stages to reach the target
4. Effective typography

Effective typography

Typography is one element that can help you create a more appealing website. This is generally the case with all sites, but it becomes substantial if you are using the minimalist strategy. It’s the easiest way to increase brand recognition and reveal its style while not having to add many other features.

How can you make typography so effective? The goal is to play with different fonts, dimensions, and weights. You can also make a contrast between small and large text, which is yet another trick to emphasize the most important components on the webpage.

At the same time, using impressive typography instead of heavier visual elements improves page load time and the overall website functioning. It’s a win-win situation both in terms of technical and aesthetic performance, so don’t be afraid to use it.

The only exception occurs when you can’t create a copy that deserves so much space. In this case, it is better to avoid large typography and go for the more standard variants of minimalist design.

5. Large images

Large images

We just mentioned the power of typography, but it doesn’t make large images any less interesting and attractive in terms of minimalist design. On the contrary, well-planned images can be as impressive as typography. They dominate the entire interface, evoking emotions of warmth and familiarity.

Minimalist images are both simple and rich because they create a specific atmosphere that matches the lifestyle of the target audience. This allows you to reach out to users and strengthen the bonds with your visitors, but it still doesn’t force you to overstuff the website.

However, you need to be careful with large and dominant visuals. If you choose this tactic, make sure to respect all other features of minimalist design, including color schemes, contrasts, and negative space usage. This is the only way to come up with a compelling solution that doesn’t make the website complex and overloaded.

6. Grid layouts

Grid layouts

If you want to ensure seamless user experience, grid layout might as well be the best solution. How come? Well, grids organize content in a highly intuitive manner and allow visitors to scan content quickly. This is particularly important for image-driven websites with tons of visual content. There are many ways to arrange grids:

  • Horizontal lines: It’s the most common format where you divide images into horizontal rows
  • Puzzle grid: In this case, a set of images forms one larger image
  • Diagonal layout: Your visuals intersect and form diagonals

The number of options is almost countless as it all depends on your style, business preferences, and your inspiration. But you must bear in mind that grid layouts require quite some negative space to keep the whole structure functional and minimal.

The goal is not to display too many items simultaneously, but rather to show several components while maintaining the simplicity of your website. At the same time, you should stick to one color palette and use the same filter to create the feeling of uniformity and visual consistency.

7. Flat design

Flat design

Flat design is the last but certainly not the least important feature of minimalism. As a matter of fact, this pattern is so widespread that it rightfully represents a true symbol of the minimalist design. In its essence, the flat pattern is removing complex elements such as 3D variations or gradients.

The purpose of flat design is to simplify content to the fullest extent. While this makes websites easy to navigate, it also stops you from revealing clickable elements. This basically means you can’t provide visitors with the state of the art navigation experience.

While flat design will not (and should not) disappear completely, we believe it must be upgraded. If you want to exercise flat patterns, don’t forget to augment it by adding clickable elements to help users find their way through the website.

Conclusion

Minimalism has a long history of impact on various art forms, but it is now getting increasingly popular in the field of web design, too. “Less is more” represents the official motto of this doctrine, which seems to perfectly resonate with the needs and expectations of users all over the world.

This is exactly why many individuals and organizations build austere but sharp and impressive websites. In our article, we explained the concept of minimalism and described seven features of minimalist web design.

We hope our post inspired you to embrace minimalism and design your website accordingly, but feel free to let us know in comments if you need more explanations about this topic – we are here to help answer you!

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