Minimalism is the art of less. Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist says, “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” When it comes to creating a minimalist website or minimalism in website design, it means more than just simplifying the design from a visual standpoint. The benefits of minimalism aren’t just aesthetic. These 5 minimalist approaches to web design directly affect the user experience for the better.
Use the hamburger button
The hamburger icon was intended to look like a list. So it’s a fitting icon to remind users of a menu list for your website. The hamburger menu is a great way to visually clean up the space, and allow for more focus on where the user is in the present moment—scrolling through your homepage— rather than distracting them of where they should go next.
Not only does the hamburger button simplify the design, it helps clarify the user experience as well. The hamburger button is also a great asset for responsive web design, creating a clean and simple mobile experience.
Omit the old fashioned homepage link
Whether you embrace the hamburger menu button or not, having a "Home" link in the navigation is unnecessary. I’m not saying you should omit the ability for the user to go back to the homepage. What I am saying is that it isn't necessary to use up real estate in the top navigation bar with a link that simply says "Home." Minimalism is all about purpose and function.
All websites display their logos with the purpose of reminding users who they are, but what function does a logo alone serve? None. Add a homepage link to your logo. By doing so, you’ve now cleaned up your navigation, as well as added functionality without clutter. Plus, it’s still an intuitive way for a user to find Home. At this point in website design, adding a homepage link to your logo is standard practice.
Omit slideshow carousels
Slideshows use a carousel to get more content on the screen at one time, all the while using the same amount of space. While you may think that slideshows are a positive minimalist web design approach in regards to usage of space, you’re forgetting about the user experience. Slideshows can be visually annoying, and distract the user from important content.
Trying to add more distracts from what is already there. So while you’re adding more value with content in slideshow carousels, you’re actually taking away value from what is currently there. Don’t create a slideshow just because you have a bunch of photos or content you want to show off.
Don’t open new windows
Unless you’re linking to a different website, don’t have your internal web pages open a new window. That’s a tiresome user experience, clogging up the users window with unnecessary tabs. It’s a lot of excess, with no actual purpose.
Don’t make pop-ups fit the whole screen
If you must have a pop-up window for users to sign up for your email list, or download your latest ebook, don’t make the pop-up window fill the entire screen. Huge full screen pop-ups consume an unnecessary amount of real estate.
Pop-up windows are already intrusive to the flow of the user experience. You don’t also need to make the pop-up fullscreen. Because pop-ups usually require an action to return to the webpage (either by clicking an “x” or “no thanks” button) the user can’t go anywhere—they will see the pop up no matter how big.
Yes, there may be exceptions to the rules above. But evaluating the benefits of a minimalist web design approach may improve your user experience as well.