The Case For No-Frills UX/UI
What Constitutes Minimalism In UX/UI
Just like the Japanese philosophy of minimalism, where the focus is on limiting your possessions to the bare minimum, minimalism in design follows the exact same principles: You strip the user interface to the bare minimum. Every little detail has to serve a purpose. There is no room for flowery design elements meant purely for aesthetic value.
While companies may differ in their approach to conform to those principles, a few common practices can be seen across brands:
• Flat, universal icons
• Plenty of white space
• Bolder headlines, sometimes used with a dramatic font
• Limited colors
Why Minimalism Makes Sense In UX/UI
1. A Lower Bounce Rate
Studies have shown that uncluttered design helps in lowering bounce rates. How can you tell if your app’s design is uncluttered? Largely, users’ perception of a design being complex or cluttered increases with the number of elements in a design. Thus, a design with six different elements will be perceived as more complex than a design with only three different elements. This builds a strong case to limit the number of elements in your UX design to the bare minimum.
2. It Encourages Engagement
The purpose of minimalism is to bring one or two elements to the fore while keeping everything else in the background. In the case of Instagram, the focal point is user posts; for Airbnb, it is top-ranked properties; while for Apple, it is playlists and music discovery. In all of those examples, content is at the forefront of the user experience. Users don’t have to search for information. It is right there staring them in the face, which, in turn, encourages people to engage with an app a lot more.
There is also a technical side to the argument. Since a minimalist design only has the bare minimum, websites and apps can benefit from faster loading times. It also makes designing for responsive environments a whole lot easier, since there are fewer elements you need to focus on.
3. It Can Be Used To Stand Out
How To Design A Minimalist Interface
A Small Caveat
In order to stand apart, it is easy to get carried away. While rules are often meant to be broken, some conventions are too sacred to a good user experience. For instance, most people expect the “back” button to be in the upper-left corner. The same goes for the company logo, at least in most cases. Similarly, the top right corner is reserved for login.
Minimalist UI Designs For Inspiration
Google can be the biggest inspiration for anyone looking at a minimalist user interface. The fact that Google’s interface has undergone little change since it launched is a testimony to the efficacy of minimalism. Agenda is another example of minimalism done right, with important information at the forefront of the app’s design. Amount manages to carve a niche for itself in the crowded currency-conversion market and its straightforward, no-frills UI has a big role to play in its success.