Successfully pulling off the minimalist design

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Cromulent, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #1
    There is a very thin line between boring and uninspired and a really good minimalist design. How does one go about making sure that their design is good, with enough interesting elements without overwhelming the user with unnecessary kruft?

    I'm having a hard time deciding just how to go about styling a site. I'm very conscious that I want the layout to invisible and that at most I'd like to use lines to delimit different areas of the site but at the same time I'm having difficulty trying to make it look interesting.

    Any tips are very much appreciated.
     
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    What kind of site is it? Though designers like to think visitors will take notice of their hard work, often they just care about some specific information and just want it to be easy to find and easy to read. So just make sure the design accommodates the visitor's interest before your own. Google's page layout are very simple and uninspiring, but drive a lot of traffic due to useful content and tools. Most of its pages are actually a fugly in my opinion, but I don't use their pages for their design, I'm there for their usefulness.
     
  3. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #4
    The trick is good typography. If you have that then you don't need any other (or very few) elements.

    My site is quite minimal in the fact its basically a picture with some text below but it still remains interesting. Well i think its does anyway :)
     
  4. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #5
    You can still use lines, just make them elegant and less old school boxy.

    By that I mean:

    1 single pixel height
    60% width instead of 100%, always centered
    A color that contrasts nicely with background, but not too stark - i.e. a soft light gray on black as opposed to white or yellow on black.
    Consider adding 40-60% transparency to certain block, box or border elements - "subtle fade".

    Or use a subtle graphic as a horizontal rule, something fancier than just a straight line, following same basic rules as above except the height can obviously be a bit taller.

    What I'm getting at is you can be minimalistic and elegant at the same time.

    -jim
     
  5. H00513R macrumors 6502a

    H00513R

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #6
    I know this is overkill, but I love the site (and use it for the actual content):

    http://zenhabits.net/

    This is a sister site that can't go any further:

    http://mnmlist.com/

    Now that's minimalism!
     
  6. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #7
    I'm glad you linked both sites, H00513R.

    The first is, to me, more pleasant to the eye compared to the second, and if you look carefully nearly all of the horizontal rules follow almost exactly the suggestions I posed in my last response. The second site, as minimal as it could be, looks unfinished. Even though both are easy to navigate and score highly on usability. A little touch of elegance goes a long way to bringing users back with a smile. Even Wikipedia and boring web accessible resource logs for user analytics have a few touches of elegance to not only make the data easier to read and understand, but allow the site to maintain its look and feel throughout. Google, as mentioned earlier, is minimalist but also - think about it - brand recognizable. The concept is so simple, it's brilliant.

    I know this stuff seems unimportant to some, but simple design concerns like these often are equal to development concerns, even on minimalist sites, I think.

    -jim
     
  7. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #8
    Thank you very much for the feedback it was very useful. Rather than keep talking in abstract terms I thought I'd attach an image of what I have so far, sorry for blocking out certain parts but I'm not supposed to reveal that information at present.

    Could anyone give some tips based on it? Thank you for your help.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Brobdingnag
    #9
    Never use the word "Ultimate". Especially not when promoting something minimalist. If you have to tell everyone it's "The Ultimate", then the rest of your message has failed.
     
  9. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #10
    It's just a dev site on my own computer at the moment. All the wording will be rewritten before it goes live anyway.

    Thanks for the tip though.
     

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