Minimal design has antecedents throughout the history of art and design philosophies. Diogenes of Sinope lived inside a barrel, the Spartans were, well, ‘Spartan,’ and ancient Japan has many attractive stylings. All minimal in their way, and still, in the present day, minimalism has evolved again. The genre has its own modern trends and applications. Websites didn’t bother Diogenes, but they’re very important today.
Dating sites are complicated affairs, with human emotion plugged into a seemingly infinite number of potential partners. Not only that but the range of dating options requires different design concepts and practices. If someone wanted to buy a wife online or meet someone who is into the same esoteric hobby as they are, the website has to look the part. This is people’s love life on the line. They won’t settle for a poorly finished product as the means to meet their one true love.
The task to find a wife online may not be your idea of romance, but it is a market. Mail order wives aside, online dating sites need to balance quality with broad appeal. Minimalism is the perfect vessel of design in this case, as it leaves a lot to the imagination and presents things in a clear, co-ordinated fashion. With that in mind, here are the best tips for designing a minimally styled dating website.
1. White Space Is Negative Space
White space refers to the absence of content. For years, and still in some art forms, white space is anathema. A gap that is intentionally left blank is negative space. It draws attention by doing nothing. The aim of negative space is to focus the glance of your audience on the place you want it to go.
Looking at examples of minimalist websites is a good way to approach creating your own ideas. White space gives the reader directions without explicitly stating where to go. In a dating context, white space could be used to focus attention on a person’s profile, giving each element their own breathing room.
2. Wireframes work wonders
The process of web design requires taking the elements and widgets that are essential to your site and putting them in the right place. Dating websites have a certain user experience that is controlled by a narrative. You want to search or have profiles suggested to you, and you need a way to move on to the next phase. White space comes back again here, as using it as part of an easing or transition stage between profiles can allow a mental reset for the person using your site. This psychology is vital to good design practices. Minimalism lets us connect most directly with the content it is there for a display. As beautiful as simplicity can be, minimalism is also part of this design ecology.
3. Minimalism doesn’t mean simplicity
To row back on the previous point, there is a false equivocacy between minimal and simple. Simple could look like the easiest thing to find and use. Minimalism is the stripping away of everything that is excess. And that requires work, cutting off and reshaping facets of your content. Without giving it the proper consideration, you may lose part of the flow of using your site and be left with a very minimal, and very simple bordering on a non-functioning portal.
4. Go easy on the visual images
Pictures are snapshots of other parts of the world, and as most of the world is rather chaotic, their presence can be disarming in a minimalist mode of design. If you are to use pictures, the most important axiom to remember is to keep them simple, and keep them infrequent. On a dating site, the only pictures people will want to see are those of their potential matches. The audience does not need a sandy beach to imply romance.
5. User Interaction and User Experience
UI and UX – in lay terms, the navigation tools. Minimalism cannot exist as a part of your website. It must be the whole, it must be factored into every decision. The dating profiles cannot be minimal whilst there are sidebars and toolbars hanging from every other surface.
Navigation is key, but it cannot be intrusive. In this case, collapsable sidebars and toolbars are the obvious solution. Perhaps, if your site is very interactive, including an introductory ‘how-to-use’ slide or page before moving onto the game-like element of finding dates would be useful. This inducts people into the process of using your website and can be a chance to show off some minimal diagrams and designs.
Minimalism is a design experience that is more complex than it initially appears. Knowing what to cut and when to cut it will take some practice and perseverance. However, the end result is likely to be dashing, timeless, and bring people back again and again.