The “less is more” design trend may be relevant if you design Swedish furniture, but it has no place in website design. Two popular web imperatives often work at cross purposes; all marketers understand that “content is King,” but at the same time, web designers who push minimalist designs continue pushing back.
Sparse website design arose out of a need to optimize for speed, given the reality that most web surfers will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. But where does that design fit into the “content is King” theme? Of course, it does not. Visitors to a website, especially if it involves ecommerce, want a site that includes complete information, rich graphics and video, long-form content, and apps, often coming from third-party sources and incorporated into the site with a variety of calls.
In fact, there are two things that will potentially cause shoppers to abandon a site: A thin website, and a thick website.
The thin website comes when the IT people who manage the back end tell the marketing department to abandon the heavy graphics and video, and keep third-party adds and calls to a minimum. The resulting site is fast, but it just doesn’t do enough to keep visitors on the site or encourage them to return. A thick website on the other hand, responds to shopper needs with plenty of apps and conveniences, information, reviews, and imagery, but it too, may drive away shoppers if performance is slow.
What site visitors want however, is more content, not less. Designers have gotten stuck on minimalist presentations, not realizing that simple technology (content delivery networks, content orchestration) have made minimalism obsolete, and have made it possible to easily resolve the dilemma and deliver both more, and faster. The better part of the equation is a given, and in an environment where webmasters are free to add more content, a focus on quality is what will nail down this triple-play and deliver a winning website.