Websites get complicated. Somewhere between, “Oh this website only needs like 3 pages” and “I need to share 800 resources through an online archive,” things may have gone from simple to complex.
If you are just starting to put together a website or if you have had one for a while, keeping things simple may be something that you desire both for yourself and your website visitors.
The Benefits of Simplifying Your Website
The key benefits of simplifying your website all revolve around one thing: making things easy. And not just making things easy for you as the website owner but also easy for your website visitors. Simplifying can make your website:
- Easier to read
- Easier to update
- Easier to build
- Easier to design
- Easier to navigate
- Easier to redesign
- Easier to convert
- Easier to load
- Easier to backup
With all of the ease comes what we all really want: less stress all around. But how do we start to simplify if things have already gotten complicated? Or how do we proceed with a website project without it escalating into a website that’s difficult and unwieldy?
5 Ways To Start Simplifying
1. Allow Space
A great way to simplify your website design is to increase the white space, also known as “negative space” between and around content and elements on a page.
This space needs to be empty to allow for feeling and breathing. Space allows visitors to easily read and scan text, creates space for prioritizing what’s most important, and can create a sense of harmony.
Without making any other changes, increasing the white space could dramatically simplify your website.
2. Eliminate Decoration
When creating a simple website, ask yourself, “Is this element truly important to communicating my solution?” And if the answer is no, you may be able to simplify your website’s design by removing extraneous elements.
It’s not necessary to remove decorative elements that communicate effectively but in many, if not most, cases decoration is nothing more than distracting. Things like swirly borders on images, heavy use of patterns and textures, and extra images might be complicating your design and making it more difficult for your solution to shine through.
3. Find Stillness
Removing or reducing animation effects and image sliders can help simplify your website.
Humans are wired to pay more attention to things that move than things that don’t. The problem with animated elements then is that your website visitor’s attention goes towards the animation effect more than your message.
Often animation is used incorrectly. You don’t need content to fly in from stage right when someone is scrolling down. There are a lot of simpler, more conversion friendly ways to bring attention to text and ways that use less code to accomplish it too (meaning a faster site).
Finding stillness can help keep your website design simple and direct your visitor’s attention to what really matters: getting the help they need.
4. Be Consistent
Every website visitor has to learn a bit about how to get around on your website. Due to design conventions like links getting highlighted or buttons being contrasting rectangles, the hope is that figuring out how to use your website is pretty intuitive.
Here are a few things that, when they are consistent, can help your website design hold together visually in a way that is comfortable for the website visitor:
- Using the same colors throughout the website
- Using the same amounts of vertical and horizontal spacing
- Using the same styling for headings
- Using the same color for links and buttons
- Using the same font combinations
- Using the same header and footer layouts on every page
Consistency simplifies by serving visitors what they expect from one page to another. This makes your website easier for them to understand and use.
5. Plan Copy
Instead of having more fluffy copy, try have less copy that is more purposeful. Reducing your website copy to that which holds meaning helps keep pages shorter, formatting clearer, and the website design more clean.
To evaluate if the copy is purposeful or just fluff, determine what the purpose of a page is. Sort of like paragraphs supporting a thesis statement in an academic paper, you want each line of copy on a page to support the purpose of that page.
Being clear about the purpose of a page will help website copy remain simple and therefore simplify your website too. Getting clear, concise copy on your website is the way to go.
Simplifying: An Ongoing Process
No matter where you are in your website journey, it’s good to stay mindful that keeping your website simple is not a one-time deal. Your website needs ongoing care and assessment to ensure it’s as awesome as possible for our website visitors and also working for our practices.
How can your website be more simple? A lot of the ways recommended above are about making things easier and reducing down to the necessities that serve the purpose of your website. Taking on one small task at a time can make the process less overwhelming and more fun.
What will you be doing to make your private practice website design more simple?