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.
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.