#1 Focus only on essential elements
This first step probably seems forehead-slapping obvious: of course I should put the focus on the essential elements in my site, what am I, an idiot? But a surprising number of websites fail to achieve this and the result is a big mess of important and unimportant elements spewed onto a page. Identify what needs to be focused, just like with any good visual design or piece of art.
#2 20-80 Rule
What 20% of what’s on a page gives 80% of the value and content that people go there for? It could be the copy, some social proof (review snippets, testimonials, media badges), and a signup form or call-to-action button, for example. That’s the 20% right there. On your website, as well as on each individual page, focus on displaying only the 20% of site elements that are delivering 80% of that usefulness.
This isn’t a technical step but a principle that you can use as your guide to simplify your website design constantly. The 80-20 rule will help simplify your website design by pushing you to trim your site elements down to the essentials. This can also help increase your desired results that you hope to achieve on your website <—this is the goal.
#3 Reduce the number of pages
Sounds crazy, right? A large part of simplifying your website design is to simply have fewer places to explore and click around. You can do that by trimming the page count. Either get rid of unnecessary pages that deep down inside you know aren’t needed, or at the very least, fuse multiple pages into one. I mean, you don’t really need to separate “about the site” and “about me” pages.
We’ve all been on websites with too many navigation menu items. We don’t know where to start navigating because we get overwhelmed by the choices. And when we get overwhelmed by being presented with too many choices, what happens? We go with choosing nothing. By having as few nav menu items as possible, you make your website not only simpler but more inviting and friendlier to visitors.
#4 Use more images and important content above the fold.
So if you want to increase the effectiveness of your website, have the main content and call-to-action elements above the fold. You can do something as simple as shortening the header height if you have a logo and a navigation menu at the top of your website.
Minimize the amount of scrolling on one page.
#5 Limit your color scheme
In order to simplify your website design visually, you need to limit your color scheme. When in doubt, use fewer colors. It’ll vary based on your design of course, but try sticking with no more than 2 or 3 colors to start off. If you need more subtlety and texture to your visual design, use shades of the same color – light blue for the background and darker blue for header and menu items.
You can have your website constructively simplified, but if the colors distract the eyes when you look at it rather than complimenting the content, then all that effort was for naught. So use fewer colors with your website design instead.