A recent study conducted by EyeQuant reveals that Clean design layout offers much better visual experience.
In web design world, it is all about creating a design that will keep the visitors engaged. Your design is the first thing that people see then comes the subject matter. Doesn’t matter if you have a corporate site or an E-commerce store, a poor design will instantly drive away visitors. This is precisely the reason why businesses should spend some money in split testing various designs and analyzing the results.
EyeQuant, a design analytics firm, did a research on some sample sites and found out that sites with clean design resulted in lower bounce rate and better visual clarity score. A cluttered design on the other hand has lots of moving parts and elements often placed in a haphazard manner. Even sites that had an overly elaborate design in the past are now transitioning to minimal design. If you know Shopify which is a well known E-commerce platform, then browse through the themes offered by Shopify. You will notice that almost all themes are based on a clean design concept.
Fabian Stelzer, the founder of EyeQuant, says that this link between clean layout and better visual engagement has also been found in other case studies. Now the concept of clean design is relatively new and many stakeholders won’t necessarily buy the idea. Business owners basically want to display as much information as possible on their homepage. But it’s up to the designer to convince their clients that clean design is the future. And thankfully now they have real data to present their case.
This particular case study by EyeQuant consisted of nearly 300 e-commerce websites. The process involved running the designs through an AI algorithm developed by the company. Design analytics is not new and there are lot of companies offering this service now. There are numerous factors fed into the algorithm which then ranks the site design. Now these algorithms are not 100% accurate as is the case with most machine learning algorithms but they are fairly close with about 80% accuracy.
The study categorized results based on two things: a clarity score given by the algorithm and bounce rate. The bounce rate however is not a reliable measure as a higher bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, a visitor may spend more than 2 minutes on your webpage and then leave without navigating to other pages which will still result in a very high bounce rate but in this case the visitor was clearly hooked on your site.
Above snapshot is of GPSCity.com, an e-commerce site selling GPS equipment. The visual clarity score for this site was found to be 35/100 which is quite poor. This is reflected by the site’s bounce rate which sits at 63%. Problem with the design is that there is lot of text content and text links on the front page which is a turn-off for visitors.
This one is from Breezenet.com, a car rental site. Clarity score for this one is 32/100 & bounce rate is 77.1%. The major flaw in this design is that there is no clearly defined navigation plus the design itself looks dull.
Now let see some examples of minimal or clean designs:
As you can see in this screenshot from Avis, it has clearly defined controls with minimal elements to distract visitors’s attention. Clarity score: 90/100 and bounce rate at 21%.
Another fine example from Zagg.com, an iPhone accessories store which has less text & link controls with clean layout.
Although above examples are just a small subset, the study clearly indicated that the cleaner the layout of your site, the better the visual clarity.
Think about it logically, a clean design will get your message across to visitors much faster and in a more efficient manner rather then overwhelming the visitors with unnecessary clutter.