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The reason less “visually complex” websites are considered more beautiful is partly because low-complexity websites don’t require our eyes and brain to work as hard to decode, store, and process information. Watch this short video about how the eye sends information to the brain to understand what I mean.

Basically, your retina converts visual information from the real world into electrical impulses. Those impulses are then routed through the appropriate photoreceptor cells to transmit color and light information to the brain.

The more color and light variations on the page (i.e. the greater the visual complexity), the more work the eye has to do to send information to the brain.

Researcher Saul McLeod explains that

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A study by Google had two key findings:

  • Users will judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second.

  • “Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.

Moreover, “highly prototypical” sites—those with layouts commonly associated with sites of their category—that also had a simple website design were rated the most beautiful.

In other words, the study found that the simpler the design, the better.

But why?

In this article, we’ll examine the role of cognitive fluency and visual information processing theory, which play a critical role in simplifying your web design and can lead to more conversions.

We’ll also look at case studies of sites that simplified their design, how it improved their conversion rate, and show you how to simplify your site design.

What is a “prototypical” website?

If I said “furniture,” what image pops into your mind? If you’re like 95% of people, you think of a chair. If I ask what color represents “boy,” you think “blue” (and girl, “pink”; car, “sedan”; bird, “robin”; etc.).

Prototypicality is the basic mental image your brain creates to categorize everything you interact with. From furniture to websites, your brain has a template for how things should look and feel.

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1. Look for Opportunities to Diversify

2. Embrace Paid Social

3. Focus On Your Existing Content

4. Nurture Brand Advocates

5. Constantly Optimize User Experience

6. Connect Online and Offline Strategies

7. Prioritize Authenticity

8. Create a Memorable Message

9. Build Partnerships

10. Make Performance Analysis an Ongoing Strategy

Keep Up With the Trends

Having a strong marketing strategy requires more than adjusting your priorities year after year. You have to be constantly on the lookout for technologies and opportunities to stand out from the crowd. Follow the latest tech and marketing tips to keep up on the important trends and changes you should be taking advantage of.

Written by:

Isabel Hasty

  • Isabel Hasty writes and edits case studies to share client success stories and industry trends. She produces a variety of lead-generation content, including white papers, blogs, infographics, and thought leadership articles.

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