June 14, 2021 | Biz, 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 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. 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 copies or images unless they speak something your visitor cares about.
  4. When in doubt, less is more. One large image is usually better than many little ones; one column instead of three is usually more beneficial.
  5. Clarity is essential: have straightforward navigation and structure to your pages, think about your primary call to action for each page and don't use more than three calls to action on a single page. 

*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.

How I can help you

Need a beautifully simple website? Please reach out, I would love to design your dream website!

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