Websites that balance simplicity with consistency are the most effective. Science says so.
Consistency is important from a usability standpoint. Website visitors bring certain expectations when visiting a typical website. According to a recent article on conversionxl.com, “Prototypicality is the basic mental image your brain creates to categorize everything you interact with. From furniture to websites, your brain has created a template for how things should look and feel.”
That is why most websites in a particular category share a similar layout. When designing a website, be sure to research what others in your sector are doing. It’s important that your website feels familiar to users, especially in terms of where to find certain items.
However, after viewing the competition, be sure to simplify your design. Our brains categorize simple, clean websites as more beautiful. We also find them easier to navigate.
The trend of simplicity is continuing to proliferate around the web. Just look at Nordstrom.com. The visuals are bold. The text is minimal. The site bares more resemblance to Pinterest than to online shopping websites of just a few years ago.
The importance of having information above the fold is less and less important. Website users are far more accustomed to scrolling. Putting your most relevant information at the top is still a good practice, but it’s okay if the website is designed for users to scroll down. Better to spread information out vertically to achieve great design and simplicity.
In general, great website design must include what users know and have come to expect. However, don’t be afraid to delight them with something beautiful and well designed. Great design isn’t just for looks, it can directly impact your bottom line.