A minimalist web-design strategy is one that seeks to simplify interfaces by removing unnecessary elements or content that does not support user tasks.

In order to reduce a website to only its most necessary elements, designers must accept a cascade of consequences that impact both the user interface (UI) and the content of the site. Many of the visual-design characteristics commonly associated with minimalism are choices that serve the core strategy of minimalism particularly well, and so have been adopted along with minimalism in most instances.

Web design, like language, is defined by the way people use it. The word ‘minimalism’ is thrown around a lot, yet it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what features define a minimalist web design.

Freres d'Encre

Minimalism in web design can mean a plethora of things — from minimalistic graphic elements, and narrow color palettes, to a bare minimum of text and website navigation.

The trend rose to prominence as a way of accommodating ebbing screen sizes and attention spans. Usability and navigating throughout the website are alleviated thanks to the extremely minimalist menu that take away much of the difficulty, shifting visitors’ focus from how to find certain information on engaging in information itself.

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A good way of achieving minimalism in web design is ditching a heavy paragraph for a high-quality image or a video that would convey the message of the text in a more enticing and straightforward manner.

Designers who adopt a minimalist design strategy must consider each element in their interfaces and eliminate any that are not required to support the core functionality or message of the website. An ‘element’ in this context could be any individual unit of the interface: including but not limited to:

  • menu items
  • links
  • images
  • graphics
  • lines
  • captions
  • textures (like gradients)
  • colors
  • fonts
  • icons

It’s difficult to assess whether an interface includes ‘unnecessary’ elements without directly asking the sites’ designers what they left out, and without knowing the target users and tasks. To make this characteristic measurable, we focused on assessing whether or not the interface contained graphic elements that did not serve any obvious purpose. In our sample, 87% of minimalist sites avoided gratuitous graphic elements.

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