Minimalism is defined as being a “style or technique characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”–-in other words, reducing a set of components to the minimal amount necessary to produce the desired effect. This can mean cutting back on unnecessary elements and only keeping what’s strictly necessary for the functioning of the interface.
In many ways, this guidance can be beneficial for designers creating interface or UI, as it promotes a way of working with as “little design” as possible. While many designers can appreciate the beauty of minimalist UI, here are some practical details to keep in mind to make sure you aren’t sacrificing clarity in the pursuit of minimalism.
1. Help the Content Shine
Many popular mobile apps achieve minimalist design by following the principle of removing unnecessary imagery and color which takes away from the main content. Stripping away all extra collateral helps the user focus on the actual functionality of an app or website.
2. Reinforce the Existing Hierarchy
White (or negative) space is the backbone of any minimalist design. What you leave out of a design is just as important as what you put in. By using white space and size in a minimalist interface, you are able to keep the page looking structured and clean while keeping a meaningful hierarchy of the design components.
- Design TheoryInvisible Forces: Spacing and Shape
- Design TheoryUsing White Space (or Negative Space) in Your Designs
3. Less is more
When you have fewer design elements, the remaining elements may have to be bumped up in size or weight to give the same emphasis. Less is more, and the goal is to still make a big impact even with fewer design elements. Consider the details, as they have more weight in the overall design.
Lastly, always integrate user studies into your design process to make sure your next design is clear and intuitive.
When in doubt, go back to the user goal. Does the simplicity of your newly uncluttered interface help the user accomplish their task more successfully and efficiently? Make sure you aren’t primarily driven to achieve a minimalist look at the expense of clarity.