Zen and the Art of Web Design: Simplify Your Site for Better Customer Engagement

September 18, 2015 Design/UI, Usability 0 Comments


Once upon a time I was asked to look at the site of a potential client who had outgrown their startup boots and were ready for a rebrand and an updated website.

When I had a look at their site I felt a mixture of horror and excitement: horror because here was a tired looking site made up of poorly informed colour choices and so full of duplicated information that it was nearly impossible to find what you were looking for, and excitement because here was a site where some Zen philosophy would go a long way to instantly improving its appearance, appeal and functionality.

Strip it back, remove all the obstacles and get back to the core information. It would be an easy job to make a marked improvement.

Where zen and web design meet

But zen? Seriously?

Of course it’s ridiculous to imagine that a website will have anything to do with the zen state of its users.

Or is it?

Our days are full, our lives are busy. We are all time poor. The key thing here, then, is to create a stress free experience on your website by enabling a user to quickly find the information that they need.

And if they just so happen to put something interesting in their path – once they’ve found what they came looking for – then they’ll be more likely to stay because THEY’VE ALREADY FOUND what they came looking for.

You make it easy for them, enjoyable even. There is breathing space on the screen, a consistent style to your design and perfectly chosen typography that effortlessly marries readability with chic. You don’t make them feel as though you are wasting their time.

And the reward is that they want to stay and see what else you have to say. To connect with your brand. To become your customer.

3 ways to zen your site

A good way to start this process is by going to your website right now and checking in with the following three areas:

  1. Clear navigation: Make sure that your site navigation allows users to access anywhere on your site by as few clicks as possible, and ideally only one click. Don’t make people go looking for menus. Don’t make them search for search bars. Don’t make them do anything that might make them leave your website and move on to a competitors’.
  2. Clear message: Tell your message succinctly. Don’t overuse words. Get to the point. Describe who you are and what you’re selling or promoting in a way that is honest and open. In true Zen style, strip it back to what it really is and say it like it is: This is what we do. This is how we do it. This is how you can contact us. Boom.
  3. Clear call to action: What do you want people to do with your site? Make it clear if you want them to read, watch, buy, book or whatever, and make it extremely easy for them to do so. We’re talking obvious links, clear actions and visible share buttons.

Over to you.

What useful strategies do you have for simplifying a site? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below! And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share with anyone who might find it useful. Boom.