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Hick’s Law, or why 10-year old websites would fail today

The more choices, the better? Not when it comes to websites in 2015. Minimalism is the gold standard and Hick’s law is the guiding force behind it all.

hicks law

hicks law

Minimalist web design is attractive because it’s effective

The more choices, the better? Not when it comes to websites in 2015.

What once was reserved for artist portfolios has now expanded to e-commerce sites and corporate pages. Everyone’s gone minimalist.

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Definition: “Balancing aesthetics with functionality… Fearless use of space, stunning visuals, striking typography, and an overall focus on the content itself – and nothing else.”

Hick’s law employed

Web developers follow design trends that reflect conventional wisdom about user experiences navigating a website. And while simplicity may seem like a personal preference, it’s rooted in the concept behind Hick’s law: the more choices offered to a person, the more time it takes for that person to make a decision.

Choice paralysis is a real thing, so messy pages can distract and confuse users.

Then and now

From overzealous animation to competing font styles, webpages have seen it all over the couple of decades that the World Wide Web has been around. If you’ve forgotten the ghosts of webpages past, here’s a look into what today’s most popular sites looked like when they first launched. The New York Times example looks like a copy-and-pasted front page of a print newspaper.

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Advantages of minimalism

So, things have certainly changed. But has the web reached a consensus that a minimalistic design is the final, evolved form? Considering its various advantages, it’s hard to foresee what could take its place.

Not only does blank space feel good on the user’s eyes, a simple and sharp web layout aids business and marketing purposes by drawing attention to what’s most important on the page. The very definition of minimalism is reducing a design to its most essential aspects, which is key to strong, successful branding. On the back end, minimalist pages don’t take much effort to create and maintain.

Easy for the developer, appealing to the user, and profitable for the business?

“Less is more” fits the bill for modern web design.

#Design

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Written By

Staff Writer Larisa Manescu cringes at the question "Where are you from?" because it's a long story, but it's one she loves to share if you ask her. Her interests include storytelling, social justice and choreographed group dance classes.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mac

    October 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Great article! It would be even greater with links to several examples of minimalist sites. Thanks!

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