Simplicity is all the rage these days. It is a design philosophy that is championed by many successful companies following Steve Jobs’ famous quote “One of my mantras is — focus and simplicity”. Google, the world’s most popular search engine with a market share of above 85% (2018), has always stayed true to simplicity by maintaining visual clarity. We are all well familiar with its clear interface that enabling users to achieve their goals efficiently. Just like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, AirBnB and most of the currently leading brands cherish and practice the simple design.

But does clear UX also demand the simplicity of visual assets? Can applying this one “magic trick” on images improve your conversion?
We have tested this question for you and are glad to share some findings.

Our answer includes several points that we advise you to consider when picking the best matching visuals for your site

1. Device

One doesn’t have to be a genius to point out the multiple differences between the screening devices. Building a website, even a newbie can use the pre-prepared templates to get a matching look for multiple user channels. The more sites’ development invests in omni-channel UX, the better their interfaces become.
However, have you noticed that even the best sites do not tend to adapt their visuals to the browsing device? Instead, they go for one design of pure minimalism.
For example, consider a cover of National Geographic magazine from a pre-smartphone era (August 2000, on the left side) and a comparable cover – printed, web and app from June 2018 (on the right side).


Photos credit: National Geographic

On the right 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 users with manifold ideas you aspire to convey.

NowTecc findings show that object visibility, visual load and the amount of details can be estimated and matched to the type of the user’s device. We analyze each of your pictures and prioritize the best matching device for it – so your users can enjoy the full range of visual content, tailored to their current situation.

2. Context

Just like the setting of a first date – context has everything to do with the message you want to deliver. Surrounding the main character or object with visual cues can help bring users the rich context of your story, unfolding the ideas you wish to develop. On the other hand, following the rules of simplicity you can enable viewers to mentally complete the scene, projecting on the visual context of their own imagination. Just like weaving a dream for the sleeping fox on the right image.


3. Precision

What are your users’ expectations from your site? 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?



Bottom line

In certain circumstances minimalistic 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 focus points.
Having trouble deciding? Tell us – we would love to help.

On our next blog post we will share additional important and insightful advice on what you should consider when choosing the best matching visuals for your site.

Stay tuned!

NowTecc Team.