When a user visits a website for the first time, research has shown that it takes mere milliseconds for them to decide whether they’re going to continue exploring the website or move on.
“A websites’ first impression is known to be a crucial moment for capturing the users interest. Within a fraction of time, people build a first visceral ‘gut feeling’ that helps them to decide whether they are going to stay at this place or continue surfing to other sites.”
In this context – simpler, cleaner website designs tend to appeal more to the typical user.
There are several reasons:
1. Less overwhelming
Simple web layouts are easier on the eye. Most people have limited time (or attention spans) and they want to be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. A clutter-free design that offers a fuss-free user experience is more likely to create a great first impression.
2. Faster to load
With 73% of mobile internet users saying they’ve come across a website that was too slow to load, it’s clear that web development agencies need to explore every avenue for reducing the loading times of their sites. By including lots of large images and complex, dynamic design elements on your website, you are likely to create a website that is painfully slow to load and frustrating to use. By toning down your imagery and paring down your design, you can reduce churn and even increase your conversion rates. Did you know that a 1-second delay in page response can lead to a 7% dip in conversions?
3. Easier to use
When users visit a site, they don’t want to work hard to find the product, contact information or content they’re looking for. Your audience will appreciate a website that is designed in a user-centric, clear and logical way – enabling them to find the details they’re looking for where they expect them to be. A clear and logical site structure is therefore incredibly valuable – no matter whether you’re selling sporting goods or publishing news.
4. More memorable
Research from Princeton University has shown that humans can only remember about 7 pieces of information at a time. If your goal is to design a memorable website that stays top of mind and keeps users coming back for more, it’s advisable to keep your website design simple – with just a few nuggets of content or strategic visual elements to showcase your brand. This way, visitors will quickly understand what your company has to offer; and they’ll be more likely to remember these key elements after they check out.
As designed for mobile first becomes more and more important, toned-down designs will be the order of the day. Given that mobile users have much smaller screens to work with, they’ll find it easier to navigate the site if it is clean and clutter-free – with the most important content at hand, instead of being buried several steps away.
It’s quite simple, really. When designing your website, think of your user experience as a journey. Do you want to create a labyrinth with lots of twists, turns and dead ends? Or do you want to create a clear and well sign-posted path from A to B to C?