To overlook the importance of effective web design is to run the risk of losing conversions, customers and credibility in general. Outstanding web design doesn’t happen by chance, but is instead crafted and engineered with a series of rules and principles in mind, which include the following:
Visual hierarchy refers to how the content of any given web page is picked up by the human eye and immediately ranked in terms of importance. If your page features a large picture covering the page, a strong headline, a special-offer CTA box and a paragraph of text in a smaller font, you could easily work out that these would rank 1 to 4 respectively. It’s a case of making them want what you have, telling them what it is, showing them how to get it and finally explaining the key details of it.
Proportions also play a huge role in determining how your content will be picked up and interpreted by your site’s visitors. This means positioning things in a manner that is both pleasing to the eye and works in accordance with the way the eye scans and picks up information. The latest overhaul lavished on Twitter represents a great example of proportion being used to maximum effect. Allocation of space, positioning and working with your page like an architectural project are all of supreme importance.
The Choice Paradox
Choice can be a great thing…it can also be hazardous for your site’s health. When you think about it, the more things you have to choose from, the longer it takes you to make a decision. On the flipside, if there are only two things available to you, choosing becomes much easier. Known in some circle as the ‘Choice Paradox’, it’s crucial to be aware of the fact that the more choices your website presents, the more likely it is the visitor to choose nothing at all. This means using multiple and effective filters to make it easier for decisions to be made.
Studies have shown that when a smaller button or CTA is increased in size by 20%, the chance of it being clicked increases significantly. However, the same cannot be said for a button that is already larger in size and summarily increased to gauge the reaction of site visitors. As such, it’s clear that size matters, but this doesn’t mean that bigger is always better.
The Rule of Thirds
When using imagery, it is a good idea to work in accordance with the rule of thirds. This basically means that the image canvas as a whole is divided into nine equal parts, with horizontal and vertical lines between each of them. Where the lines intersect, this is where the most important element of your images should appear.
Careful Use of White Space
Last but not least, there’s a very important difference between glaring white gaps and clever use of white space. In the case of the latter, you really only need to think about the way Apple has its websites and stores set up globally. White space can be used as a powerful design element in its own right, though should not be left to chance or approached randomly. Careful use of white space is all about making a site look clean, crisp and well organised – not simply lacking in enough content to fill the page.
At Say Web Design the websites we produce are designed to a high standard using the latest design techniques and carefully selected and optimised imagery to complement the site’s content. We adopt the above highly successful techniques to achieve our design objectives.