Simple Design: The hidden side-benefits
I've always enjoyed simple, minimalistic designs. There's something attractive about the beauty in sleek lines & clean designs. For me, it applies to everything- from indoor furniture to vehicles to web design. As a web developer, I'm exposed a lot more to it in the latter. It's in that arena that I see so many side-benefits to simple, minimalistic, clean designs. Namely, Accesibility. You might be wondering, though, "of all things, why accessibility?"
The simpler something is to use, the more people will use it. This means it's automatically more Accessible. This especially applies to the Web. If you add in features like making things easier on screen readers (for the visually impaired) or having subtitles on any videos that are posted (for the audibly impaired), then you're increasing it's Accessibility even moreso. This isn't just smart from a business perspective, as more visitors engaging equals more potential customers either directly or via word-of-mouth. It's also the more humane thing to do as you're telling those physically impaired visitors that they matter too and that you thought about them during the creation of your website.
As someone who studied Gerontology & did Alzheimer's Research, I'm a bit of a "square peg in a round hole" when it comes to fellow web developers. But this is great (in my humble opinion) since I hope that I provide a different perspective on things which lead to the creation of creative solutions. My thought process, when I'm looking at websites is "how easy would this be for an elderly person to use" or "would someone who speaks a language that differs from the text on this website be able to get around?"
There's always more ways to improve your site visually but you'd be wise to consider Accessibility. If you're really feeling adventurous, include it in your A/B Testing (you are doing A/B testing, right?). Simple design practices allow for not only visual eye candy for those that are blessed enough to see it but can also pay dividends in terms of making it easy to navigate for those not equally blessed.