Aesthetic and minimalist design – Nielsen’s Heuristic with example

Our brain can only process limited information at a time. The aesthetic and minimalist design is important to deal with this limitation.

Sometimes, the interface is too cluttered with a lack of hierarchy. Which makes it very difficult for us to focus or function properly.

The aesthetic and minimalist design is the eighth guideline of Nielsen’s Heuristics which is a great way to do Heuristic Evaluations.

As put in Nielsen’s words,

Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility. read here


Cluttered website shows a bad example of aesthetic and minimalist design


Some interfaces are aesthetically pleasant and relevant. These enable quicker actions and increases the efficiency of the users.

Ways to ensure Aesthetic and minimalist design

1. Show only relevant things

Medium – the blogging platform is a great example of this heuristic. It is essentially like a blank piece of paper and if you need to add anything beyond text, you just need to click on the + sign which again is the universal sign for adding something.

It is distraction free and you only see what is relevant for you to write.

Removing content may seem like the best way out even though it is not always the right approach.

Want an in-depth understanding of Nielsen’s Heuristics?

Not a fan of reading? Learn the UX Guidelines and methods that you can use and learn to instantly improve usability of your website, apps or software in this Udemy Course.

2. Maintain hierarchy

If you have created something that needs a lot of content, think of ways to organize it in proper hierarchy and sections. This is an important concept of aesthetic and minimalist design.

The websites like Atlassian and Stripe are the perfect examples. They have a lot of aesthetically placed content.

Trello which is an office productivity tools uses cards really well. Each card has within it a lot of information.

But on the dashboard, the user only sees the high-level information.

3. Keep “Above the fold” in mind

The term Above the fold came from conventional printing.

Like the front-page of the newspaper, it is the most important real estate in your interface.

Since most users will see this part, it’s important to keep only the most important things in this section.

In case of a website, Above the fold is the portion of the page visible without any scrolling.

Although, with changing user behavior, above the fold is not as relevant today.

But it’s still good to keep it in mind and show only the most important things above the fold.

4. Get rid of the extra mass

Extra mass is created by

  1. Features that are rarely used
  2. Copy that can be shrunk without losing the meaning
  3. Irrelevant images
  4. Redundant features

Remember only a fraction of things is useful on your page.

Always ask yourself that if there is one thing that you can remove from your interface, what will it be?


So, what is one application, software or website you feel is a great example of aesthetic and minimalist design?


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