April 12, 2021 | Biz, Design Tips & Tricks

Why simple website designs convert better

Last week I read a study* from 2012 done by researchers of the University of Basel, Switzerland, and Google. I found it interesting because they scientifically confirmed what I am all about as a web designer: aesthetically simple and beautiful websites. 

Many people know that a websites’ first impression is crucial for capturing the readers’ interest.

  • Within a fraction of seconds, people form a first visceral gut feeling that makes them stay at the website or continue surfing to other sites.
  • Also, website designs that contradict what readers typically expect of a website may lead to a suboptimal first impression.
  • Visually complex websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than simpler sites. 

Why is that? Because low-complexity websites don’t require our eyes and brain to work as hard to decode, store, and process information. The more colour and light variations on the page, the more work the eye has to do to send information to the brain. The more your visitors have to do with processing your design, the less they’ll be able to say yes to working with you. So, I would conclude from the study that simpler websites lead to higher conversion rates.

Now, simplicity and appeal are very subjective, right? This leads me to a significant point: know your ideal clients and design for them - and you. Age, gender, expectations, and much more can influence how we process information and design. On the other hand, simplicity is generally influenced by factors such as form, colour, shape, and precise copy, to name a few.


When designing your website, know that every element - typography, logo, copy and colour selection - communicates subtle information about you and your work. Follow your gut instinct about your ideal client and general tips for simple designs, and you will create a beautifully simple, highly converting website. 

Because by creating a simple design, you allow your visitors to process other things with their working memory, making it easier for them to say yes to working with you or buying from you.

5 ways to create a simpler website

  1. Know your ideal client and design for them
  2. Put things where visitors expect to find them.
  3. Use your colours, logo, and fonts to communicate clearly and subtly. Don’t add copy or images unless they speak something your visitor cares about.
  4. When in doubt, less is more. One large image is usually better than a bunch of little ones; one column instead of three, use white space.
  5. Clarity is essential: have straightforward navigation and structure to your pages, think about your primary call to action for each page and not have more than three calls to action on a single page. 

How I can help you

If you want further help with making your website simpler, how about getting a website audit by me? For 49 Euros, I will look over your website with structure, content and design in mind. You will get a PDF full of easy-to-implement changes to your website. The goal? The navigation is clear, the design aligns with your brand look and feel, and your ideal clients understand what to do next.

Get a website audit for 49 Euros and have a website that is simple, beautiful and clear. 

I want the audit.

*Source: The role of visual complexity and prototypicality regarding first impression of websites: Working towards understanding aesthetic judgments. University of Basel, Department of Psychology, Center for Cognitive Psychology and Methodology, Switzerland and Google/YouTube User Experience Research, Zurich, Switzerland.

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