We have seen the rise and dominance of flat design, full blown background images and then grid based material design in the recent times. All these web design principles and trends have one thing common. They provide a clean design free of visual clutter. Clean and simple web design offers more functional ease and usefulness. As usefulness and traffic engagement are increasingly becoming important to drive growth for most websites, clean design is more than just a necessity.
Clean design is more important these days as most people access web through their handheld device screens rather than bigger screens of desktops and laptops. Smaller device screens often make it challenging for the user to read texts, click on navigation buttons and respond to ‘call to action’ buttons.
A powerful professional website design does not need to be flashy or visually striking. The dominance of flat design for several years in a row is a sure testimony to this. Look at the websites of most giants of tech or business fields and you are bound to agree with the effectiveness of simplicity and clarity. Clean websites win audience and make impression to gain repeat footprints of users.
What is Cleanliness in Website Design?
First of all, one must understand what this cleanliness means in the context of website design? Cleanliness in a website is basically rooted in detailed and refined approach to boost visual engagement and user interaction. Upon arriving on a web page if the user instantly grabs the way it can help solving his problem or finding the content, he is very likely to become impressed. Making such a clear first time impression is not possible without clearing your website from the visual clutter and offer ‘to the point guidance’ to the user.
Each separate component of a website should have careful attention. From use of white space to layout to graphics to typography to color scheme to ease of navigation there are several aspects that one need to optimize to add to the clarity and cleanliness of a website design.
1) Use of Negative Space to Clean Visual Clutter
Suppose you are in a bookstore or library, looking for a new publication. If the space is crammed with furniture and unorganized heaps of books how can you find what you need? In such case, the store owner or librarian cannot even think of prescribing some books that arrived recently. Almost a similar experience occurs with traffic of many websites. In spite of offering a reserve of useful contents users feel confused and decide to leave the site unsatisfied.
White space or negative space in websites serves the purpose of passage inside a room offering easier access to what the users need. Lots of white space is an elementary aspect of clean design. White space not just saves a website from having a cluttered look but it also offers a soothing effect on the eyes and lead vision to important contents and information. Obviously, white space need not be always literally white. Vacant area around the text can be given any soft hue. In case of using color in negative space mind the contrast and readability.
2) Precise Color Scheme
Color is the essential element to create right contrast and balance with the negative space. Using bold, solid colors that helps creating a distinction between different sections is a good way to achieve this but make sure that the colors are not overused creating a cluttered impression. Subtle change of hues and a bit of overplaying textures can help creating distinctions even with minimum use of colors. Besides using colors as active design elements, intuitive use of colors also can refer to the contents of separate section and useful aspects. When using color, always avoid any effect that can cause distraction.
3) Clean Layout
Though there is not a universally accepted layout to achieve maximum clarity in your web design, a layout should allow easier access to contents and enhance usefulness of the website. The grid layout is known for its simplicity and consistent in allowing access to all website contents. In any web layout consistency is a too important element. The alignment, sidebar sizes, scrolling type, etc. should be consistent throughout. There can be nothing more annoying and derogatory than varying layout across the pages of a website.
4) More Content Above the Fold
Content visibility should get the prime attention in any website design. If you have a look at the Apple website, you will instantly recognize the effect. Most studies have maintained that, majority of users spend time on above the fold content and scrolling down or navigating to other pages. Naturally, a design that places more visible content above the fold would have more chances to create instant impression. Above the content can further be optimized with the use of impressive high quality images accompanying it.
5) Clean Navigation
Navigation in many ways holds the key for engaging website traffic. By allowing users easily navigating through the web pages you ensure usefulness and ease of access. A clear navigation is a winning factor for any website. Here are some tips for clean navigation.
- Keep navigation consistent: The navigation menu and all the buttons should be consistent to allow easy access and prevent confusion.
- Distinct categories: For websites with multiple sections marking separate categories and sub-categories with visual distraction is important.
- Easily clickable and tappable navigation: Navigation links should be easily clickable on desktops and easily tappable on mobile devices.
- Use drop-down menu or sandwich menu: In clean clutter free design presenting navigation buttons through dropdown menu buttons or a more mobile friendly hamburger menu can add to the cleanliness and usability.
- A working search button: Always provide an in-site search button and make sure that it produces quick relevant results to user search.
6) Call to Action Buttons
At the end of the day, business conversion through your website remains to be an important criterion. But for promoting your products or services while maintaining minimum distraction effective design and placement of calls-to-action buttons is more than crucial. There are few important considerations related to this. You need to follow the web pages format, use the consistent and coherent color scheme, consistent and visually engaging font, button spacing and button sizes.
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps. He is an iPhone Game Developer, with acute knowledge of Mobile App Design and Web Design. His vision is to become the best mobile development company, which can transform people’s idea into fully functional application at a very affordable price.