Simplicity is all the rage these days. It is a design philosophy that is championed by many successful companies, especially following Steve Jobs’ famous quote “One of my mantras is — focus and simplicity”. Subsequently, Google has always stayed true to simplicity by maintaining visual clarity – leading the way to many other brands.

But does clear UX also demand the simplicity of visual assets? Will applying this one “magic trick” on images gain you more user engagement? Will it get you to achieve your online goals?

We have tested this question and our results reveal several points we advise you to consider when picking the best visuals for your website.

Here we go!

1. Device

Have you noticed that even the best websites do not tend to adapt their visuals to the browsing device? Instead, they go for one design of pure minimalism.

When choosing visuals for your website you must consider the browsing device type – web, mobile, print etc.

Let’s check the following example –

We have a National Geographic magazine cover dating to August 2000, a pre-smartphone era (on the left side), and a comparable cover – printed, web and app from June 2018 (on the right side).

On the right side you may notice a clear advantage of object visibility which brings alone a light feeling of clarity – for sure you don’t miss out any important nuances. In comparison, on the left you most likely experience perceptual load, being blasted by manifold details, probably feeling incapable to fully grasp it. While the simple visual is a perfect match for small screens, the rich fine-detailed photograph can provide desktop or print users with manifold ideas you aspire to convey.


Photos credit: National Geographic

2. Context

Just like the setting of a first date – context has everything to do with the message you want to deliver.

Based on the rules of simplicity, you may enable viewers to mentally complete a scene, projecting on the visual context of their own imagination. Just like weaving a dream for the sleeping fox on the right image.
On the other hand, surrounding the main character or object with visual hints can help bring users the rich context of your story.

What is the context of your story? Consider this when deciding on the scope of visual simplicity needed for your creative.


3. Precision

What are your users’ expectations from your website? Is your content elegant and subtle, or is it plane and direct? Drawing attention to details either pinpoints the best-experience moments your users will admire, or un-thoughtfully captures their focus leading them away from the desired flow.

When you choose visual content for your webpage ask yourself – to what extent would you like the visual to stand out vividly, conveying new information? Would you like the visual to add value to the written content? Would you like the users to spend more time screening its refined details or would a single glimpse be enough? Stick to visual precision serving your goals.


Bottom line

In certain circumstances minimalist visuals work wonderfully well. If you aim for a small screen, a plain message and an open context – simple visuals would be a perfect pick. On the other hand, if you wish to provide your users a rich, impactful experience – do not hesitate to choose fine-detailed images. Consider these tips and get the best of your users engagement.

Having trouble deciding? NowTecc platform could be of great help, analyzing your visuals and matching them with the best devices and the right context – while keeping them precise to your goals.

NowTecc Team.



NowTecc provides insights into online behavior for real time use.

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