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Advanced Web Design Principles

There are many components that go into making up good web design. However there are four main principles that contribute the most impact to an effective overall design. These four main design principles include the following elements: balance, emphasis, unity and rhythm. To build a website that has pleasing design features and is highly effective in getting its message across, each of these four components has an important role to play.

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First of all we’re going to look at the principle of ‘balance’, which illustrates how the different colors, text and images of the website are coordinated. A web page needs to have a high degree of visual interest but at the same time should not overwhelm the viewer with too many conflicting design elements. Each of the images and blocks of text on a page has its own visual weight depending on the shape, color or size of these elements. This is not to say that good balance on a website is simply achieved by having all the elements placed symmetrically on the page layout. For example, you might create good balance by having an image on the right hand side of the page with a strong block of text on the left hand side. An even more advanced design technique involves the used of asymmetrical balance. This is done by combining different objects on each side of the page with each of these elements having a different visual weight color, size or shape. An example of asymmetrical balance might be if you had a strong element in the center of the page, the balance may be achieved by having a lighter design component further out toward the edge of the page.


The next style element we’re going to look at is ’emphasis’, which is intended to draw the viewer towards the focal point of the page. In other words you want the most important design elements to really stand out on the page. Typically the focal point is a component that is very different from the other design elements on the page. Naturally there very different ways that you can achieve this emphasis, you might decide to use highly contrasting image colors, you may go for a bold font or you may just use a larger font. However you use emphasis on your page the end goal is to enable the most important design features to really stand out.


The next of the style elements were going to examine is ‘unity’ This can be defined as how all the different components on the page appear to be very coherent and that the page has a unified structure. Another way to express this might be that each of the elements on the page: the headers, sub headers, pictures, other graphical effects and the various text blocks all appear to be part of the same cohesive idea. Good unity can be achieved by using consistent font styles, repeating similar colors and textures or positioning related elements close to each other.


The last component we’re going to examine is ‘rhythm’ Rhythm can be defined as how the various visual components can be seen by your visitors as having a unified pattern. The purpose here is to try and produce an internal consistency to the overall design. Repeating the same elements in a consistent way at regular intervals creates a smooth, even rhythm whereas dramatic changes in the spacing or the size of visual elements creates a much more lively, dynamic mood to the web page. The end result should be that your visitor should feel an overall sense of coherence in your website even though there may well be differing design elements and styles on each page.

The reality is that people visiting your website for the first time will gain an immediate impression of the design priciples. They make subtle unconscious psychological assessments that create an almost instant impression of how effective the design of the website seems to flow. This assessment contributes towards their decision on whether to stay and explore your website in more depth or to immediately hit the ‘back’ button and search for another site. On the other hand if your site gives an immediate impression of clean website design, simple navigation and interesting visual appeal, they are far more likely to stay longer and ultimately buy your product or engage your service. Another clear benefit is that they are far more likely to return to your site through having bookmarked it, or even signed up for your email list.

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