Using Simplicity As A Conversion Tactic

Website Users Dislike Complexity, You Should, Too

If you've ever landed on a web page with a super abstract homepage, a "quirky" navigation system, and a convoluted layout that makes you feel like you're playing a game of hide-and-seek with the content chances are you clicked away faster than you could even mutter "who would make a website like this?!?!". Just like you, we wonder why some of our internet friends would rebuke decades of user experience research in the same of being... different. The truth is that websites are not the place in which users are willing to tolerate unnecessarily complexity in their life. Users will abandon a website after mere seconds if they don’t immediately see information of value. They will abandon forms that ask too many questions. They will click close the moment they feel obstructed, challenged, or abused. (Seriously, read more UX stats here.) Simplicity is the key to pleasant user experiences and it’s the path to customer conversion.

Users Chase Content Before They Browse Navigation

A consistent, cross-generational reality of the internet is that users scan websites rather than read carefully or deeply. When a user lands on your website, whether they find their way to your homepage, a blog post, a product listing, or something else, they will look for content that supports their ambitions before they’ll browse your navigation to see what breadth of information might be available. This behavior presents a challenge for both brands and web designers, who have the task of giving each page a purpose while maintaining a broader perspective of what the site has to offer. This is one of many things at the core of what makes simplicity complex. 🤯

You Still Need A Site Navigation So Keep It Simple

You still need a way for users to move around the pages of your website, should your content inspire them to do so. There are all kinds of ways to create your site navigation. We can create a simple traditional horizontal band of text links. We can create a menu of various sizes, shapes, and layouts and hide it behind a hamburger, or create a full-page menu activated by an icon. Most of those options aren’t practical and in most cases just because we can doesn’t mean we should. The goal is not to mystify your visitors with an enigmatic website, but to help them complete their goals and answer their questions. A simple navigation structure has the following attributes:

  • Easy to identify on-page

  • Easy to read (no technical jargon, acronyms, etc.)

  • Limited in choices

Here’s What You Can Do

The most important thing you can do is work with a design team to develop a website that has a logical structure, clean URLs, easily found calls-to-action and on-page links to related content. As it turns out, sometimes it takes the pros to make simple look good and actions might include:

  • Deciding what information your users need to convert

  • Deciding what kinds of interactions they need to take (forms, purchases, downloads, etc.)

  • Gathering/creating images, video, illustrations, infographics, and other media to share

  • Creating a simple naming system for everything - avoid using internal lingo, technical terms, academic language, and acronyms across your website

When these actions are taken even a “large” website can be a simple website. Simplicity isn’t just about brevity; it’s about scannable web pages, logical navigations, and natural/trustworthy interactions. The journey to simplicity in design is often complex, but the return on investment will be a website that your customers can safely and effectively use.

Web Design, UXMichael Wagner