In the UX world, one of the most hotly contested topics is the Aesthetic and Minimalist Design debate. Essentially, minimalism in design refers to the practice of removing any unnecessary elements from a user interface (UI). While this might seem like an unimportant debate, it can have serious implications on your product’s usability and overall effectiveness. So which side of the fence do you fall on? Do you believe aesthetic design trumps minimalist design? Or vice versa? Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the argument.
The Advantages of Aesthetic and Minimalist Design
Minimalism in User Interface Design
User Interface (UI) design can be a challenge for any designer because it is difficult to visualize how each element fits into a final product. However, minimalism in UI design can work to everyone’s advantage. With less to consider, users will have an easier time understanding what actions are available on each screen. In other words, they won’t feel overwhelmed by too many options and menus.
To avoid overwhelming your users with a plethora of unnecessary features or widgets, take some inspiration from minimalist websites like Zen Habits and Unclutterer. They provide strong visual cues with striking typography, large photos/videos, and simple buttons without extraneous text or icons. The design isn’t just functional—it also provides a pleasurable user experience!
How can one achieve maximum usability with minimalism?
The problem with minimalism is that it often comes at an expense. For example, a minimalist UI tends to look quite simple – which is great from a design perspective – but it can make it hard for users to figure out how to do things. Simplicity for simplicity’s sake is not optimal; your goal should be to use as few elements as possible without sacrificing usability.
In other words, if you can design a piece of UI that’s easier for users, then you probably should. Simple designs also mean simpler UIs, which means more room for user input and visual aids – essential components in maximizing usability.When in doubt, choose aesthetics over minimalist design: even though aesthetics are important, don’t forget that functionality is key when designing UX. Users need to know what each element does before they can interact with it or click on it.
If you have a very limited amount of space available for text and icons, then your design might need some work before you launch. It’s best to start by prioritizing functions (that is, figuring out what each button does) so that users know where everything is located on your site or app. This will help them avoid confusion later on down the line and make sure they’re getting exactly what they want when they interact with different parts of your design interface.
Aesthetic and minimalist design can offer a variety of advantages over traditional design.
Users are provided with a more relaxed experience, more focus is put on content rather than design. This can offer UI designers freedom in design. User testing can be done quicker and easier due to having less functionality that could confuse a user or distract them from their goal.
Lesser use of color or heavy contrast offers less eye strain on users when they view your website. You need to carefully evaluate what you do want in your design and what you don’t want in order to avoid clutter/overwhelm your user experience while keeping it minimalistic/easy on their eyes. If all else fails for you minimalist design might just be for you.
Use these steps to build a solid design strategy:
Step 1: Understand Your User and Context
- Define who will use your product
- How many people will use your product
- Where will they be using it
- What type of person uses it?
- What motivates them?
- Why do they need it?
- Who are your competitors?
- What makes you different from them?
Step 2: Identify Goals & Objectives
- Write down specific goals that you want to achieve with your design. Make sure that these goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) so that you can measure how well you are doing. If you don’t know what success looks like for your design then how can you measure whether or not you have achieved it?
- Step 3: Research Your Users & Competitors
- Find out as much as possible about who is going to use your product/service and what their motivations are. Find out as much as possible about how other companies in similar markets approach their design.
Aesthetic and minimalist designs can be more efficient and user-friendly
One of the biggest advantages of choosing a minimalist design is its versatility. Because it avoids unnecessary adornments, it can be more timeless. By ensuring that each element serves a specific purpose, your design will be easier to apply across mediums, from mobile applications to desktop computers. This kind of legibility also gives aesthetic designs an advantage over complex designs because they’re more effective at helping users understand what they’re looking at quickly. UI designers have found that minimalism can improve users’ ability to find information within applications by up to 50 percent!
Aesthetic and minimalist designs can be more timeless and versatile
Since less information is being presented, users have to search out what they need. This causes them to give each piece more attention. If you can create a design that relies on visual communication rather than textual explanations, your content will be easily consumable across all types of devices, including mobile phones and tablets. It’s for this reason that designing for aesthetic and minimalist aesthetics are so advantageous:
Designs allow users to better understand your website or app with less effort from them. This means less cognitive overload from consuming all that information, which in turn results in a better user experience.
Aesthetic and minimalist designs can be more environmentally friendly
Perhaps because they aren’t trying to create a new physical thing, designers who focus on design UX can more easily produce green goods. Aesthetic designs often require less material than utilitarian goods, which means that not only do they make products look better; but they also are gentler in our environment. For example, an aesthetically pleasing smartphone case might be made from bamboo rather than hard plastic.
While bamboo may cost more upfront, it will keep your phone in pristine condition for longer—and then you don’t have to replace it as frequently. Moreover, smaller companies looking to get noticed might choose environmentally friendly options in order to get ahead of their competition.