Why Simple Websites are Better #3 - Visual Processing of Complexity

Most people instinctively know that a ‘busy’ or ‘fussy’ website is no good, and that a ‘clean’ or ‘simple’ design is better.

One of the scientific reasons behind this intuition is that visually complex images take more brainpower to process than visually simple ones, which directly translates in them taking more effort.

Nature always leans towards the conservation of energy, so brains sub-consciously ‘dislike’ having to expend more effort.

When your eye and brain process an image, they analyse a variety of things, including colour, light levels, shape, size and distance. The more variables there are in each of these aspects the more brainpower will be required.

The problem with using all this brainpower to process the ‘image’ that is the landing page of your website, is that you would really prefer your users to be thinking about your products, services and unique selling points (USPs).

If their brain is distracted making sense of three different columns, each with multi-coloured adverts, several fonts in lots of colours and a plethora of pictures, they’re not going to have any energy left to think about whether they want to buy something from you or not.

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