The Five Pillars of Design Simplicity

UX/UI web designers speaking with each other on a design.

The process of designing and developing a site that is simple yet effective can be a daunting one. Many shy away from a minimalist approach to content and design because adding, rather than subtracting, is just easier. Distilling information down to the core meaning, while remaining coherent and resonant is a powerful approach and can mean, among many other benefits, a sustained level of heightened conversion and better user experience.

In our approach to simplicity, we have found that the initial decision to embark upon a pared-down strategy requires a set of motivators for both the user and owner. Motivators are a significant driver of simplicity and provide a clear catalyst to choose this methodology ranging from improved legibility of design, the creation of perceived expertise and the fostering of a true connection made at a faster pace.


Simplicity does not automatically mean usability, but it can make the experience easier to navigate. In this case, approaching usability as the interaction between the user and the system will help to understand how the user will move about the environment and with what level of ease. This is the main reason most organizations choose a minimalist interface, beyond aesthetic reasoning.


With regard to graphic elements and featured branding statements should be crafted with a keen sharpness. This attention will support the immediate invitation of further exploration to the user. This can be seen as the ‘one chance to make a first impression‘ stage.


The effective nature of cognition through written material by using small words, short sentences, familiar concepts, and clear typography (among other means) is vast. The resulting fluency often dramatically increases the message’s acceptability. Not only is it better understood, it is also met with affinity. A site or application that carries a high level of fluency will encourage the user to feel comfortable in the environment and can focus on why they came to the site initially.


The user is coming to the site to accomplish a task – whether it’s inspiration or a tangible service – there is a job to be done. Making sure their needs are met is a must. Assessing the need of the user by identifying who needs it and how many people will help determine how much functionality is necessary for specific areas. If something is not needed by the ideal user, then it should be removed or not implemented.


How quickly can the user understand the information? The less work that has to be performed to get the job done will heighten the change for positive engagement. This does not make the user lazy but indicates a task-driven culture.

Even if taking a less minimalist approach, looking to these core pillars of design simplicity will help to establish a strong foundation for effective user experience. The union of attention to these motivators and graphic elements can only make the experience more useful to the ideal audience.