As per Statista, there are over five million apps on various mobile app stores on the internet. There are over 50 apps on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s app store just for accessing emails. How do you make your app stand out in this competitive scenario? How do you make people choose and keep coming back to your app regularly?
A first impression makes the best impression on a new customer. Therefore, the appearance or UI of the app/website can be classified as one of the demarking factors among different options available for the customers.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, a thoughtfully made minimalist design stands out in a crowd of blingy and stuffed spaces. In arts and design, the essence of minimalism is to focus and convey only the essential element.
One can adopt Minimalist UI to make a strong and memorable impression on users.
Principles of Minimalist UI design
Simplicity is at the heart of minimalist design. “Less is more” is the mantra that the concept of minimalism thrives on.
In a minimalist UI(User Interface) design,
- The figures and illustrations are kept simple and minimal. Usually, geometric or simple two-dimensional patterns are preferred.
- The color scheme is built around a few solid colors that are close to one another in the color chart. Heavy gradients, shadows, and other effects are not preferred in the minimalist design scheme.
- Minimalist designs use only basic fonts that are clear and simple. Since the objective is to convey the mandatory information to the reader without much fanfare, heavily beautified calligraphic cursive fonts and their likes are discouraged.
Advantages of having a minimalist UI
- Apps and websites designed on the principles of minimalism are friendlier to users. They are simple. And since they are not cluttered with unnecessary information and options, they are easy to navigate and use.
- A minimalist website loads faster and the apps designed with minimalist UI launch quicker. In the absence of data consuming unnecessary details like heavy designs and fonts, the performance of the app/website is great even with low internet speeds.
- Search engine bots can easily crawl through websites that are designed on minimalist design principles. Therefore websites with minimalist UI are SEO friendly
- In a mechanical system, the probability of failure is directly proportional to the number of moving parts. Similarly in digital systems, the probability of crash and breakdown is higher with increased complexity like plugins, several integrated applications, and animations. Hence, a minimalist UI reduces the number of failure incidents in the app/website
Guidelines for a Minimalist UI design
Some common guidelines to keep in mind while designing an app or a website with minimalist UI principles are explained below
Understand the target devices
The design approach should be different for mobile apps and desktop websites. While mobile apps are all about a touch interface, websites have to be optimized for mouse movements and clicks. Also, mobile screens are smaller than desktop displays. All these factors have to be taken into account while planning the layout of the app/website and also the information that you plan to include in the app/website.
Retain only the necessary elements
When designing the application, before introducing each element ask yourselves if it is necessary. Introduce it only if the end product would lack something in the absence of the said element. Always remember, less is more
Choose a color palette
Colour sets the mood and tone of your app. An app designed for meditation and sleep assistance is better displayed in soothing colors like blue or green instead of loud and bright colors such as red or orange. A reading app is better designed in neutral colors.
For a minimalist design, you can either pick different tints of the same color or you can pick 2-3 colors that are close to each other in the color palette and make it the principal color theme for your app/website
Choose a font
For mobile applications, it is better to stick with system-provided fonts. This is favorable since the mobile screens are small and users are familiar with system fonts. For websites, it is better to stick with the default fonts of the OS. Also, keep the size of the fonts nominal (Or as recommended by Android and iOS). Spacing between the lines also affects the readability of the text. Keep it at an optimal spacing to avoid a cluttered or scattered appearance.
Use the white space to your advantage
The presence of white space on the screen attracts the user’s attention to the most important elements of the page. If white is not in the chosen color palette, you can keep the mildest color/tint from your chosen color scheme as a blank background. The presence of white space as a page divider greatly enhances the aesthetic beauty of the web page.
Images and Icons
An image can be used to convey a message that is better expressed in figures than in words. Or, a simple abstract design can be used to complement the white space. Whenever the images are used, make sure that their color scheme matches with your chosen color palette and keep it subtle.
Icons help in easier navigation in mobile apps. In a minimalist UI design, it is advisable to keep the icons small and simple. It should also clearly convey the function it executes.
Successful Minimalist UI designs
In 2015, Microsoft opted in for a flat design for the logo of Windows 10. The entire OS also saw a transition from the previous intricate and colorful appearance coupled with shadow effects to minimal 2D icons and bars. This gave the popular OS a refreshed and professional look.
Today, most of the brands have migrated towards minimalist logos. You can observe the evolution of logos of Airbnb, Google suite, Mozilla firefox and notice a paradigm shift towards minimalist design.
These examples prove that minimalist design and UI appeal to the users. Coupled with all the advantages that this school of design brings in, the aesthetic beauty of minimalist products is unparalleled. Minimalist UI and visual hierarchy is a great design choice for a new product launching in the market.