6 Tips for Simplistic Web Design

Business, like life, politics and a cat’s psychology, is complicated. Products or services can sometimes come across as far too intricate or techie complex to explain clearly.

A good website deconstructs the complexity behind the idea or service and makes it easily to understood and easily remembered.

If, as a designer, you think a business is too complicated to be explained simply, it just means that you don’t understand the business well enough yet, or you have not followed the following simplification tips 🙂

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1) Drop corporate formalities.

A good website drops the corporate formalities in favor of concise and human accessible content. FACT: No one will ever complain that you made things too simple to understand. People like to talk to other natural human beings, so don’t pretend to be bigger than you are by adopting big words or out of place sophisticated language. Be real and down to earth.

In a lot of customer videos, folks speak in corporate lingo, using buzzwords and talking points. But CIOs are real people with real personalities. – Anne Handley, Author of  Everybody Writes.

2) Make it simple, not dumb.

To simplify does not mean to make something superficial or dumb. Yes, assume that your users don’t know anything about you, but don’t assume that they are stupid.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

3) Empathy.

To design a good website you need to first understand the underlining benefits and goals of the business. Then, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and explain it to them with clarity, brevity and human language.

Simplicity ultimately comes from designing something with a user-centric point of view which means designing with empathy.

It is never about how great your service is by listing all the tech specs of your product, it’s about how your business improves your customers’ life.

Watch this Skype add, do you see them mentioning sound quality or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) or data packets? Nope, it’s all about the human benefits of Skype.

“As complex as marketing has become, it is the simplicity of the brand message and product that wins. The brands that are triumphant in the online world, are scaling back and making the experience as minimalistic as possible.” – Mitch Joel 

4) Have content clarity upfront.

As a designer, I have been guilty of designing with Lorem ipsum which ultimately makes you focus merely on the aesthetics leaving the content secondary.

Design and content cannot be separated. They go hand in hand, like Donald Trump and his ridiculous hair.

“Content procedes design. Design, in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

5) Choose the right medium.

Ask yourself what’s the best way to make my message understandable? Sometimes the answer is copy, sometimes it’s visual, such as a photo, animation, a video or a musical.

6) White Space.

Content, just like chickens, needs space roam around. Avoid crowded caged content.

“Design is as much an act of spacing as an act of marking.” -Ellen Lupton

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Help the world become a better place by relentlessly practicing simplicity. It’s not easy but is our duty!

“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” – Woody Guthrie

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Ignazio Lacitignola

Founder & Designer

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Ignazio Lacitignola

Founder & Designer

Ignazio, or “Igi” for friends and colleagues, is an Italian designer, creative, and entrepreneur. He feels weird talking about himself in 3rd person, but for the sake of this bio, he will.

Ignazio has been a curious creative since he can remember and embraced digital design as soon as he could afford a computer and an internet connection that wasn’t 56k dial-up.

Ignazio grew up in the ghetto side of Milano, Italy, and somehow managed to graduate with honors at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, without ever going to jail.

He followed his passion and moved to the USA to study User Experience in San Francisco where he launched his career with Meno Design, a digital design studio focused on simplifying digital experiences down to their core and learning through experimentation.

He believes that every piece of design can be a work of art and he is still learning to balance his OCD attention to details with time of execution.

Despite his friendly and calm appearance he deeply enjoys Italian swearing whenever spotting bad design decisions. Which is quite often, however he is quite friendly, you should say hi to him.