Is Minimalist Design the new norm?
You may have noticed a trend in recent years on how new websites are being designed and laid out. Our site is one example of this. Web site design is almost completely responsive now. That is to say the site scales to the appropriate width based on device being used. As the navigation, text, images and other page elements scale down to work on phones and tablets they should stack one on top of the other. This allows the user to scroll down the screen with their thumb as they read through the page content. Old conventions like scrolling through slides or pages side to side are becoming less popular as it is not ergonomically friendly design.
As the Google team points out
In the USA, 94% of people with smart phones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present
Some design techniques you may have noticed that are good UX design.
Larger single top of page images
The trend to use large single image often with a text overlay is a popular technique. It provides the retina grabbing image while delivering the message effectively. It also scales perfectly and follows the up – down navigation
Keep your core content the same
There is a tendency to cut back on site content if the priority is to design for mobile devices. We do not recommend making separate mobile versions of website so designing the main site to be responsive allows you to keep your existing content. This is important for SEO and page rank.
Create a stacking strategy
Pages are built in “blocks” of content for images, headers, sidebar widgets, content areas, footers and so forth. You need to decide how these page elements are going to stack for a mobile device to maintain the integrity of the page.
Deliver content quickly
This often translates into a very clean and elegant design. Keep-it-Simple for your new design does not mean it has to look cheap. Skilled designers can create powerful websites with a less-is-more approach. One pitfall here, however, is that these new sites tend to follow a modern style as design techniques impose some limitations on what is possible.
Limit Layers and cut back on tapping
There is a limit to keeping the navigation and flow on a mobile device precise. Adding in layers to deliver content creates a point of disconnect for the user. Try to limit these layers to aid navigation and remove the need to tap unnecessarily to open content.
Leave things behind
The trend to minimalism is not going to stop. You need to start to embrace this change in the industry and design. Big shifts in Ecommerce and Elearning are two examples of how content delivery from just a few years ago are now hitting barriers with new design requirements. You have to accept these limitations and design for a simple direct approach. Leaving some fancy interaction methods behind may be required to create an effective mobile solution.