The minimalist design technique is well suited to artist portfolios and text heavy websites because it sets a calm environment for users to concentrate on content. Spare pleasing aesthetics… gracefully carved-out ample white space… logical navigation… uncluttered layout… are virtues of the art of minimalist web design. However, a simple, spacious, effective design is a difficult style to master, especially when considering enough of the right content for search engine optimization.
Steps to plan
Beautiful visual appeal will get the initial attention of your website visitors. What will keep them there after they have taken in the design? A priority based, information architecture with few design elements which smoothly leads your user to the information they are seeking.
In order to direct the viewer where you want them to go, you will need to do some planning. Every element should have great importance. You don’t want distractions to make the user question where to go first. They should know right away the purpose of the website.
Main features of site
Decide on the main purpose your website is to fulfill. There might be several and that is okay. Write these main points down by hierarchy, so you can refer back to them and stay focused on the goal. For example, the goals of your website could be to sell cosmetics through an online store, to educate the public about the healthy ingredients of your cosmetics with a blog and to display a portfolio of the cosmetics in use on models.
Next, go through all information you plan to put on your website. Write down header links, footer links, introduction, all text content, logo, navigation, etc. In most cases, content should be the center of attention. 80% of content should communicate information about what you consider to be the most important features on your website.
Every detail placed in the design should enhance readability and usability of the website. If an element doesn’t contribute to the content or functionality, leave it out. Graphics should be limited to only essential meaningful, bold designs. Don’t use any small frivolous graphics and icons.
The grey scale is classic for backgrounds, typography and graphics in minimalism. However, simplicity does not mean avoid color. Any color can be incorporated into a minimalist design. Even a subtle accent of color on an otherwise neutral palette will draw attention.
The color palette is crucial with so few elements on the website and should be carefully planned to set the mood of your product or service. Colors convey emotions that can be intensified by mixing and matching. Manipulating the color palette can make a website look vintage to modern sleek to warm and cozy.
After you compiled this information, the next step is to create a blueprint or wireframe, which we explained how to create in the previous blog post. Because you’ve reduced the website to the absolute essentials, the wireframe might be more difficult and take more time to organize than a grid design website as much more precision is involved. Here you will want to consider in detail the space between columns and borders around sections. You will want to create several different versions to experiment with the alignment, balance, contrast and best visual hierarchy.
When you have finished the steps here, go back and review the website for user-friendliness. Excluding all distractions should only emphasize the most important points, not make them confusing to use. So, what else can be subtracted until your design won’t work anymore?