Effective Website Design: Simplicity vs Complexity

Every designer faces a constant battle between simplicity and complexity.

Whilst we often champion the value of simplicity – and dream of solving everyday problems with a beautiful, efficient, simple solution – our lives are full of complexity. This has various implications for the way that we approach website design.

In this article we’ll be considering the challenges behind achieving effective website design: simplicity vs complexity.

Written By
Dan Partridge

Designers Create Simplicity

A designer’s role is to create. This involves turning ideas and concepts into something tangible that helps us solve a problem. This is equally true for engineers and website designers. If we maintain the status quo then we aren’t doing our job properly.

We would argue that a further, more difficult part of a designer’s role is to create simplicity. The world is full of inefficient, long-winded ways of solving problems. Less common are beautiful, minimalist solutions that everybody can understand and enjoy.

There is an important distinction to be made between design which is simple and design which is simplistic. Whilst we’re always nervous about being labelled ‘simplistic’ – particularly in a corporate, professional environment – the ability to make things simple adds huge value to a project, business or concept.

In reality, most simple solutions are the result of a complex process:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci

Effective Website Design: Simplicity vs Complexity

Like most things in life, the internet is simultaneously simple and complex. The challenge facing website designers is to understand, develop and redefine the complex foundations behind a website whilst presenting a simple, clear message to users.

This happens in various ways and affects various relationships.

The designer’s role is to understand that client’s individual requirements – which may be inherently complex – and turn them into a clear, comprehensible website that visitors can understand and appreciate. This requires effective research into the people that the website is for and the best ways to communicate with those individuals.

Web designers must constantly strive to overcome inherently complex challenges, such as developing lightning-fast websites whilst delivering large, high-resolution images to users. However, whilst the client needs to know that this is possible (and perhaps appreciate the scale of the challenge) it’s very important to keep your communication as simple as possible.

An effective website design should find a way to communicate big ideas and complex concepts in a clear and simple way that enables the user to enter into the experience. This principle should help you to develop a simple website that anybody can use, irrespective of their background or knowledge.

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself” Albert Einstein

The Courage to Embrace Simplicity in Website Design

There is ultimately a huge difference between understanding the value of simplicity and being prepared to pursue it in your business. There is something very vulnerable about marketing a simple product – or a complex solution presented simply – resulting in a fear that customers won’t be prepared to pay for it and that competitors will compromise the value of your intellectual property by producing similar or replica products. However, taking this courageous decision will help you to find a more successful way to communicate your ideas, products and services.

Interested in hearing more about how our website design services help you to simplify your communication and widen your audience? Why not get in touch for a free consultation and find out more about how we might work together…

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