The use of the term “lean” has been prevalent in recent years, and in various corners of the business and marketing worlds. You’ve most likely heard of “lean methodology” more generally, and things like “lean manufacturing” and “lean design” in particular.
The definition of this term is hard to pin down, but given various interpretations, it’s fair to say that lean methodology can be defined as simply doing more with less. That means creating a “better” product in some way by using less resources.
When it comes to web design, this “doing more with less” lean methodology approaches relates to creating a more specifically fine-tuned user experience.
Keeping the User in Mind
There are plenty of resources out there for helping you develop great web design, and almost all of them will tell you the same thing: you must think from the perspective of your user. This advice does not only apply to web design of course—it could be just as easily used as an approach to anything from copywriting to architectural design.
Generating a lean web design is all about knowing who your viewers will be and to understand their motivations and expectations. It’s easy during the design process to lose touch with the novelty and possible confusion that may accompany someone’s first visit to a site, but you must try to keep in mind these struggles and not get too familiar with what you’re working on. Identifying and directing your design to fit the needs of the viewer is of the utmost importance.
Accounting for Various Devices
With revolutions in smartphone and tablet technology, there’s absolutely no guaranteeing that your site will be viewed on a conventional desktop computer. Who knows—maybe by the time you’re finished with the design Google will have invented a microchip eye implant that projects the screen in front of you. You can’t be sure of how exactly your view may be observing your design—all you can be sure of is that it will need to be flexible to accommodate the various possibilities.
Lean web design advocates for a minimalist web design that not only look great, but serves the purpose of providing this flexibility. Doing less with more in this case means being frugal with content in the hopes of providing a cleaner, quicker user experience. An easy-to-use website is absolutely crucial when you’re dealing with people who are scrolling through the site with their thumb during their morning commute. Highly detailed and heavy content will take too long to load on a mobile device, and the user experience will be far too cumbersome.
Recognizing the Power of Visuals
Visual imagery can be an extremely effective lean methodological approach to design. Cutting out unnecessary words and replacing them with striking images will deliver great value to the site while helping making it more accessible. They say that “a picture is worth 1,000 words” and in no situation does this credo hold truer than with lean design. In terms of the hierarchy of the page’s formatting, visuals usually come out on top. A good visual will pull your viewer in quickly, and once their hooked you can finish the job with some high-quality and straightforward text. There are plenty of pre-constructed visual themes you can use, and you should take advantage of resources like free template designs by 1 and 1 if you find yourself unable to construct an original and effective layout.
Lean web design is necessary for a future that involves many different ways of accessing the Internet. People seem to have less and less time while feeling the need to access more and more material. With a lean methodological approach, you can account for this apparent paradox and propel your page to new heights of visual and technical beauty.