5 Great Tips To Simplify Your Web Design Project

5 Great Tips To Simplify Your Web Design Project

Simplicity rules! It makes a websites look sleek, reduce nagivation confusion and it helps achieving desired goals and results (I.e., more signups, subscribers and sales). But too often it seems elusive to simplify your website design. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make your work look like Apple’s. So what does a website designer really needs to do? Fret not, for there are 5 starting points to simplify your website design.

A simple website design shouldn’t be a daunting all-or-nothing ordeal – you can simplify your design by taking small steps. Simple tasks like putting the focus only on the essential elements of your website, getting rid of the unnecessary, reducing the number of pages your site has, getting more content above the fold, and limiting the number of colors you use. You can always fine-tune and improve your simple design, but the important thing here is to get started.

Ready to start simplifying your website design?

Awesome. Without any further delay, here are 5 starting points to simplify your website design.

Web Design icon Focus Only On Essential Elements

This first step probably seems forehead-slapping obvious: of course I should put the focus on the essential elements in my site, what am I, an idiot?

But a surprising number of websites fail to achieve this and the result is a big mess of important and unimportant elements spewed onto a page. I’m as guilty of doing this in the past as anybody. It’s hard to be objective and prioritize what’s important or not, because everything seems essential. If you want your website design to be simpler, identify what needs to be focus, just like with any good visual design or piece of art. And that means putting the focus only on the essential elements.

Focus On Important Content

Use The 80%-20% Rule
What 20% of what’s on a page gives 80% of the value and content that people go there for?

It could be the copy, some social proof (review snippets, testimonials, media badges), and a signup form or call-to-action button, for example. That’s the 20% right there. On your website, as well as on each individual page, focus on displaying only the 20% of site elements that are delivering 80% of that usefulness.

This isn’t a technical step but a principle that you can use as your guide to simplify your website design constantly. The 80-20 rule will help simplify your website design by pushing you to trim your site elements down to the essentials. What’s really cool is that the 80-20 rule can also help increase your desired results that you hope to achieve on your website. For example, an increased conversion rate in visitors subscribing, signing up, or buying.

How? You’re making it so there are less distractions and things for visitors to click on to leave the page.

As we all know, we’re always looking for an excuse not to purchase something at the final step, and any reason to navigate away is a good one. Reduce those reasons and click-away options with the 80-20 rule.

Web Design iconClear Out All Unnecessary Elements

We’re continuing with the 80-20 rule here.

Now that you’ve identified the 20% of website elements that will get you 80% of your desired results, it’s time to get rid of all unnecessary elements. In other words, the 80% of website elements that will get you only 20% of results. It could be social media sharing widgets, sidebar elements, blog post meta details (date, time, author, number of comments, etc), or links in the footer (this is especially a huge culprit a lot of the times, particularly when the visitor is looking for the aforementioned excuse to navigate away from the page).

Web Design iconKeep Navigation Simple, Reduce The Number Of Pages

A large part of simplifying your website design is to simply have fewer places to explore and click around. You can do that by trimming the page count. Either get rid of unnecessary pages that deep down inside you know aren’t needed, or at the very least, fuse multiple pages into one. I mean, you don’t really need to separate “about the site” and “about me” pages.

Firstly, get in the mindset of the visitor – if you were to arrive on your website, what are the key things would you want to do?

For instance find out what your stuff is about? Or contact you? Next, make sure that your pages facilitate what is necessary and nothing more. Don’t keep unnecessary pages on your website because you think you need to, or because other websites have them. When you reduce the number of pages on your website, not only it is easier for your visitors to focus on your content because there’s less places to click around, but your navigation menu is simpler too.

We’ve all been on websites with too many nav menu items. We don’t know where to start navigating because we get overwhelmed by the choices. And when we get overwhelmed by being presented with too many choices, we go with choosing nothing. By having as few nav menu items as possible, you make your website not only simpler but more inviting and friendlier to visitors.

Web Design iconGet The Important Content Above The Page Fold

Studies have shown that a majority of people spend most of their time above the fold on web pages (what shows up on the screen without scrolling down). So if you want to increase the effectiveness of your website, have the main content and call-to-action elements above the fold. You can do something as simple as shortening the header height if you have a logo and a navigation menu at the top of your website.

This involves nothing more than changing the header’s “height” value in your stylesheet (typically style.css or stylesheet.css). Also, see if a sign-up form or button is below the fold. Move that element higher up in the page so it’s the first thing a visitor sees. After all, that is your desired call-to-action of the visitor, so decrease the work needed to get to it (ie. scrolling).

Web Design iconLimiting Your Color Scheme

It’s easy to get carried away with colors. Why settle on 2 or 3 colors when you can have 12 or 13? But in order to simplify your website design visually, you need to limit your color scheme. When in doubt, use fewer colors. It’ll vary based on your design of course, but try sticking with no more than 2 or 3 colors to start off. If you need more subtlety and texture to your visual design, use shades of the same color – light blue for the background and darker blue for header and menu items.

I’m as guilty as anyone with getting wild with colors in the past. I’ll add this color, then another, and another – and before I know it, it looks like a rainbow diarrhea all over my website. You can have your website constructively simplified, but if the colors distract the eyes when you look at it rather than complimenting the content, then all that effort was for nothing. So use fewer colors with your website design instead.

Having trouble choosing a color to start with?
Need help with picking a color scheme? Try out this handy color scheme generator.

Hopefully you’re now armed and ready to start simplifying your website design. You’ll be more proud showing off your website because it’ll look gosh-darned sexy and lastly, your visitors will have a much more enjoyable experience browsing in your website.

To recap, here are the 5 starting points to simplify your website design:

  • Put the focus only on the essential elements
  • Get rid of all unnecessary elements
  • Reduce the number of pages
  • Get more content above the fold
  • Limit your color palette
  • 27 thoughts on “5 Great Tips To Simplify Your Web Design Project”

    1. These were great. Putting some into practice.

    2. Simplicity is something I always recommend, as well. A clean, simple design with just the right amount of information and a blog would be the best for a website. Well, some folks just want to put everything on thew web – and it’s already too much information there, more than a person can process.

    3. These are great tips! We’ll review our site based on this. Definitely one to bookmark. Thanks!

    4. has gone straight over my head Allan Nelson, so please we have paid someone else to do this. Did you see our new illustration that came in the post today, its Celrin Fairies village. <3 it.

    5. Thanks as always for your comments guys. Tracy Allen, the answer to that question is a trade secret, but I promise it would surprise most. lol. Hope you all find the tips and links useful at some point. 🙂

    6. Hi Leisa. We know you are or plan to start upgrading your site soon, so we do hope that these will help guide you during the basic planning process.

    7. Thank you for sharing this out to friends Mairi, Fingers crossed it will prove to good starting point for many who are just learning web design or want to dip their toe’s in.

    8. Morning Simona, We like simplistic, (guilty as charged right now thought), our own site is breaking that rule. Site with good clean lines and structure, do go down well. Have you seen the new Google search function. For regular researchers, don’t even need to click links anymore to find out how good or bad or design/content might be.

    9. Morning Shari, hopefully you and your designers won’t find to many issues with your designs. Feel free to give us a shout if you find any and need to figure out how to fix without taking the site down or causing further issues. 🙂

    10. Hi Pamela, great to see you joining in the conversation. We did see your latest graphic from the new artist. Seriously looking forward to your books going public. Lea keeps barking that I have to them to her as well. lol.

    11. Morning Matt, Know your planning some site renovations soon. Hopefully these will help and seriously make life easier for you. Any problems, you know where I am am and your welcome to give me a shout.

    12. Morning Tom, it is great to meet somebody who actually understands the term “Page Fold”. Personally, this is just as important as getting that “Call To Action” seen before anything else on a site. Although we know right now we are breaking that rule and need to do some tweaking. 🙂

    13. Allan~ Bookmarked, FILED in a great spot and I know my clients will benefit from this info

    14. Hi Tracy, (with out the e), lol . We would divulge the answer to your question, but you would have to sign the “Official Secrets Act” first. 🙂 Tried to find your share, to say thank you personally, but could not find it. Sorry. 🙁 But here is an extra Thank you to make up for it. 🙂

    15. I must say Allan that website looks rather amazingggg, this is so true 🙂

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