How simplicity can bring you more business

Stacks of black rectangles with a light background depicting simplicity

In a digital world that’s full of complexity, simplicity in your design is needed more than ever to attract more business.

Nowadays, even if we are not “tech-savvy people'' or work in the tech industry, we are surrounded by technology, and we use it to do most of our tasks. Checking information on government websites, making transactions on online banking apps, shopping on e-commerce websites, and searching on search engines account for only part of the things we do pretty frequently. 

With a growing number of websites and mobile apps comes greater complexity for us since we need to process lots of information on a daily basis to navigate our way through them. Thus, designing products that are simple to use is getting more important than ever if you want to attract new users and differentiate yourself from the fierce competition in the digital space.

As of now, consumers can form an opinion about a website in less than one second. Given this reality, simplicity becomes a key factor in whether people will or will not stay on your webpage or app and do business with you. If you read up to this point you must be wondering “what does simplicity mean?”.

This article will make it easy for you to understand how to achieve simplicity in design and why it is good for your business.  

How do we achieve simplicity?

Simplicity in design can be achieved by thinking about a few aspects of your product upfront. Here are a few examples of things you think about when you design your next app or website.

1 - Understand what your users already perceive as “simple”

Your users use other websites and apps too, and they are used to seeing certain design patterns on their screens. They perceive some of these design patterns as “simple-to-use” more than others.  If you aim to design a website or an app that doesn’t fall into this category (at least in the eyes of your users), you are likely to make it hard for them to have a smooth experience on your website or app. 

There is no need to reinvent the wheel to achieve simplicity.
Start your design process by validating your users’ existing mental models. You can do it by conducting user research and asking your users to mention which websites they use most often, and which ones they think are simple-to-use and explain what makes them so.

Once you know the answer to the question of “What current websites or apps my users perceive as simple-to-use”, you can look for the common design patterns in them and start planning your own design based on these repeating patterns.

This way, you can design digital products that fit your users’ mental model for a simple-to-use app or website in order to achieve the exact same outcome -  simplicity. If your design is inline with the rest of the websites or apps most of your users perceive as simple-to-use you can assume you’re already in the right direction to attract more business.

2 - Use white space to highlight elements

Using white space is one of the easiest ways to achieve simplicity in design. 

If your users end up on a website with a high amount of text and links it will be hard to draw their attention to a particular area that you want to highlight and distinguish from the rest of the interface (e.g. CTA, buttons, etc.).

White space is a great solution for this case. By adding a bit more white space around the element you want to highlight, you’ll draw your users’ attention to it and make the element a lot more visible to them. Take a look at the example below and see how it can be done on a mobile sign up page.

Beyond simplicity in design, white space can also help your page look more elegant, and help the overall building visual hierarchy by adding “pauses” between the different parts of your page that can help your users digest the visual and written content in them. That brings us to the next topic. 

3 - Group elements or place them on different screens

Now that we know about the importance of white space, we can take its use to the next level.

Another good way to achieve simplicity is by grouping all the elements that are related on one area of the screen and leaving white space between them.

The Gestalt principle of proximity states that elements that are close to each other are perceived as related and this is something that can be easily used in dashboard, website, and app design. Grouping elements by simplifies the design and helps your users understand the big picture faster. 

If you want to take this design tip even one step further you can start breaking UI elements into several screens based on the one thing per page principle. For instance, you can break your sign-in process into two screens where you would type your username on one screen, and then your password on the next screen. It can make online processes such as sign-in or check-out easier to go through with less friction and distraction. 

4 - Remove unnecessary elements

Throughout the development cycle of digital products, product managers tend to plan for work to add more features on an ongoing basis due to business competition and requests from enthusiastic users (“featurities”). Situations like this cause digital products to become more complex overtime instead of vice-versa, and if you reach this stage, this might be the time to ask which elements can be removed from your UI to achieve simplicity.

Getting some numbers from your analytics team and conducting some user interviews can help you determine which features are barely used, and if they should be hidden somewhere in your website or app (e.g. hamburger menus, accordions, and drop-down menus), or even completely removed from the UI to reduce the complexity of your UI and achieve simplicity.  

5 - Simplify and optimize your written content for smooth interactions

UX design is not only about visual design, and content design plays a big role in making digital products simple-to-use and intuitive. When you think of using content design as means of simplifying your digital product you have to take into account two things:  

Simple microcopy - The average reading level in the US is grade 7th-8th and it’s recommended to aim for this level to simplify the interaction with your website or app for all users. Websites such as Hemmingwayapp could help you check the readability of the copy that you write.

A few things you can do to ensure your microcopy is easy-to-read are to avoid phrasal verbs that can be confusing, use active instead of passive voice, and make sure your error messages include clear explanations  on how to recover from errors beyond just error codes. All these actions ensure you simplify the interaction with your digital product’s UI.  

Typography and contrast - Some fonts can be hard to read, so it’s recommended to avoid them in your design to make the interaction easy for the users. There are many examples of fonts that are easy to read (mostly sans-serif) and by using them you will make sure you reduce the cognitive load needed to interact with your digital product.
Also, make sure the contrast between the font color and the background is sufficient for most users to read, including users with vision-related disabilities. Tools such as WebAIM can help you check the contrast of the text’s color against its background.  

How will simplicity help your business?

Happier users equal higher bottom line

The first and most obvious advantage of simplicity in design is making your users happy.

If your users find your website or app easy-to-use and they don’t experience confusion in parts of their customer journey, they will be satisfied and you will see it in your Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), as well as your bottom line. 

User experience metrics are getting more and more important since businesses understand that users will pay as high as 16% more for products that offer a good user experience, and that user-centric companies outperform companies that are not. Adoption rates of your products can grow as well, and user experience metrics can help keep track of your progress.  

Lower operation costs for your business

When your products are simple-to-use and users aren’t confused about how to use your products, they make less calls to the customer support center, and your operation costs go down in both B2C and B2B products. 

Another good thing to remember is that the more complicated your product is, the more likely it is that customers will have to start relying on external consultants in using it, especially in B2B products. Situations like this will make the use of your product less attractive.

Higher conversion rates

Simplicity in design for landing pages can help your conversion rates, since potential clients will know right away what the value in your product is. This could be achieved through the discipline of conversion optimization that involves both user research and experimentation in techniques such as A/B testing. Simple design can enhance your CTAs, and make the readability of the page much better. 


By taking a “simplicity-first” approach in your design, your business has a higher potential of delivering products that will delight your customers. In a world full of technical complexity that causes the users of digital products endless frustration, the right way to go is simplicity rather than adding complexity and features. 

Simplicity in your design can have a very positive impact on both your customers’ satisfaction level and your bottom line as a business, and you want to take it into account in your product development efforts. 

Our agency can help you figure out ways of making your digital product simple.

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