The Top Five Effective Design Elements In UX
Website development and UX work hand in hand. UX is the abbreviated industry standard term for user experience and is at the forefront of every front-end developer’s mind when designing websites in 2021.
Technology is ever improving. Both the capability of a device’s performance, coupled with the improvements of digital design functionality. A part of modern web development success is paying close attention to design elements throughout the user experience. Instead of sacrificing one for the other.
This article defines and examines 5 leading elements of visual design, and looks at how UX works alongside SEO. In brief, the five elements we will be looking at are:
- Visual Hierarchy
There are also some great tools you can use to measure your website’s UX.
Quick History of Web Design
Web design will always be limited by technological advances and imagination of the creator. Technologically, we have come a long way since the 1980’s interfaces, dial-up internet (get offline, I’m expecting a call) and brutalist block layouts.
The initial concept of a world wide web is known to date back to 1946. Described in a short story by American Science Fiction author Murray Leinster. Of course, it took until 1989 for physicist Sir Tim Berner-Lee to accidentally create what we now recognise as the internet.
Modern web design is limitlessly creative in both design and purpose. An example no more obvious than the variety of landing pages and their uses.
Advances in technology and a demand for simplicity and uniqueness gave way to app development. An amalgamation of smartphone technologies, information sharing, user experience & design kick started an industry predicted to be worth 407.31 billion dollars by 2026. Businesses now have to weigh up whether to invest in an app or a new website.
Scale & Web Design
The majority of strong web design relies on scale. Scale is using logo size relative to signal importance and rank in composition.
Basically, when this principle is used correctly priority is given to the most important visual elements on a webpage, often taking up more space, or a more prominent area.
In theory, calls to actions which would benefit site or company would be larger than associations. Branded accreditations should be smaller than click to dial for example as a call is more valuable to a company.
For example, check out these scale & web design examples.
Creating Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is leading a user’s attention through design elements in relation to size. It is a technique for guiding users and helps users remember specific information. With the average UK adult spending over three hours a day online, visual hierarchy ensures users remember details.
As a rule, developers should use small, medium and large elements in all designs.
Typeface and fonts can also be used to help key information stick out. For example, online newspapers may choose to ‘Put supporting quotes in italics to offer a narrative and help this unique detail stand out’. This also helps to guide a customer’s eyes down a page natively instead of searching for content.
Balance For Optimum Experience
Visualise balance as a seesaw but instead of mass, you are balancing elements.
In a nutshell, balancing refers to managing a display of design blocks. So how does balance occur?
When there is equal distribution of elements through an imaginary axis or division. For example, equal spaces in a mobile menu or sufficient relative and equal padding around images. One of the core elements of modern website design.
The premise of contrast surrounds a juxtaposition of opposing or visually dissimilar elements to represent differences.
Colour and size are most commonly used for this.
For example, a large green title saying vegetables followed by a drop down menu of a slightly smaller font size, shaded black, saying carrots, potatoes, leeks & onions.
This is a bit of a difficult one to get your head round. Gestalt principles are a set of elements generally accepted and established in the early part of the twentieth century by psychologists. This is our brains way of helping us identify shapes within design. For example, the arrow in the FedEx logo.
In layman’s terms, Gestalt principles teaches us how we simplify and organize overly complex images into many elements subconsciously.
When we can cognitively read something and spatially understand a principle at the same time. Our brain works it out quicker.
User Experience & SEO
User experience is equally important in SEO as it is web development. Poor UX would result in low pages per session and most likely increase bounce rate over the 80% mark!
Interestingly UX has become increasingly important as Google pushes through mobile first and into 100% optimised for mobile in its core update. This is a huge part of how SEO will evolve in 2021.
The click for directions feature (for cycle routes, walking, public transport & live traffic updates) is a prime example of functionality and user experience.
So what does the future look like for UX and SEO? The combination of long form content & 100% optimised for mobile is going to push the industry to create exceptionally detailed meta content to over inform a user, and package it all neatly into smartphone display.