In today’s digital landscape, having an effective and engaging website is crucial for any business. As we enter 2023, there are several web design principles and laws that can help you create a visually appealing and user-friendly website. In this blog post, we’ll explore these principles, along with examples of how big brands successfully utilize them in their web design.
The 10 principles
1. White Space and Clean Design
White space refers to the empty areas between elements on a web page, such as images, text, or buttons. It is an essential aspect of design that contributes to a clean, organized, and visually appealing layout.
In simple terms: White space is like the empty spaces in a room, helping to make everything look neat and easy to find.
Example: Airbnb does a great job with white space by making their website clean, uncluttered, and simple to navigate.
2. Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements on a web page in a way that directs the viewer’s eye to the most important information first, based on size, color, and position.
In simple terms: Visual hierarchy means putting the most important stuff on your website where people will see it first.
Example: Apple uses visual hierarchy effectively by featuring bold headings and prominent images that draw attention to key product features.
Discoverability refers to how easily users can find and access the information they are looking for on a website. This can be achieved through clear navigation, effective search functionality, and well-organized content.
In simple terms: Discoverability is all about making it easy for people to find what they’re looking for on your website.
Example: Netflix excels at discoverability by using personalized recommendations and clear categories to help users easily discover new content.
4. Gestalt Design Laws and Principles
Gestalt principles are a set of design rules that help us understand how individual elements on a page are perceived as a whole. These principles include similarity, proximity, continuation, and closure.
In simple terms: Gestalt principles help us see how things on a website fit together and make sense as a whole.
Example: Spotify uses Gestalt principles in its playlist covers, where individual images are combined to create a larger, cohesive visual.
5. Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a composition guideline that divides a layout into nine equal parts by placing two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. The most important elements are placed along the intersections of these lines, creating a more visually appealing design.
In simple terms: The Rule of Thirds is like playing tic-tac-toe on your website, helping you put important stuff where it looks best.
Example: Instagram follows the Rule of Thirds by displaying images in a grid format, with each image occupying a third of the screen width.
6. Divine Proportions (Golden Ratio)
The Golden Ratio, also known as divine proportions, is a mathematical ratio that creates a sense of balance and harmony in design. It is approximately 1.618 and can be found in various aspects of nature, art, and architecture.
In simple terms: Divine proportions help make your website look balanced and beautiful, just like in nature.
Example: Twitter uses the Golden Ratio in its layout, with the main content area and sidebar following these special proportions.
7. Hick’s Law
Hick’s Law states that the time it takes for a person to make a decision increases with the number of choices available. Therefore, simplifying choices can lead to faster decision-making and improved user experience.
In simple terms: Hick’s Law says that when you give people too many choices, it takes them longer to decide.
Example: Google uses Hick’s Law by keeping their homepage really simple, with just a few options to choose from.
8. Fitt’s Law
Fitt’s Law asserts that the time it takes to move a pointer, such as a mouse cursor, to a target is dependent on the size and distance of the target. Larger and closer targets are easier and faster to click on.
In simple terms: Fitt’s Law means that the bigger and closer something is on a website, the easier it is for people to click on it.
Example: Amazon follows Fitt’s Law by making their menu and search bar large and easily accessible.
9. Occam’s Razor
Occam’s razor is a principle that suggests that, among competing hypotheses or solutions, the simplest one with the fewest assumptions should be preferred.
In simple terms: Occam’s Razor is a fancy way of saying that the simplest solution is usually the best one.
Example: Dropbox uses this rule by having a really simple website that focuses on what’s important and gets rid of anything extra.
10. Miller’s Law and Pareto Principle
Miller’s Law states that people can only remember about 7 items at once, while the Pareto Principle asserts that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
In simple terms: Miller’s Law reminds us to keep options limited, and the Pareto Principle tells us to focus on the most impactful features.
Example: LinkedIn uses these rules by only showing a few options in their menu and focusing on the most important features that drive user engagement.
By understanding and implementing these web design principles and laws, you can create a visually engaging and user-friendly website that not only attracts visitors but keeps them coming back for more. Take inspiration from these big brands and apply these concepts to your own web design strategy for success in 2023 and beyond.