A recent study at the Universities of Northumbria and Sheffield found 94% of a user’s first impression of a website are based on design. With rapidly growing online competition, it’s crucial to paint your company at the fore-front of your consumers mind and clearly outline the advantages of choosing your company over alternatives. Grasping these fundamental principles will allow you to direct the attention of your users to areas of your website which convert them into customers and make them remember you.
1. Emphasis – Where do you want your potential clients to focus their attention? By changing the size, colour, texture or shape of a feature and increasing its visual significance you can channel the most important areas of your website. For example changing the colour of a call to action button like ‘buy now’, from a website’s blue colour scheme to orange will draw the viewers eye and result in more purchases.
2. Composition – How should the different parts of the website combine together to create an overall theme? It’s critical to work out how the elements of a website work in relation to each other and compliment other areas.
3. Balance – How is the visual weight between objects, texture, space and colours distributed on your website? Key to balance is making sure features do not overwhelm the page and detract from other elements on the website. For example using bold red text for an your about page can tire the reader’s eyes and become difficult to read for a prolonged period of time.
4. Proportion – Does the size of your website’s features fit in scale with other areas on your website. The goal of proportion is to create a feeling of harmony between the different sizes and frequency of features on your website and how they relate to each other. A common mistake is to oversize titles and other features which naturally draw attention from the viewer. A strong understanding of scaling the size of website features allows the user to naturally focus on the areas which provide information and value.
5. Whitespace – Often mis-construed as “blank space”, white space is perhaps the most under-utilised principle in design. The placement of negative space gives the designer control over which features stand out to the viewer and removes unnecessary information which clutter the webpage and detract from the core message of the business. It may seem counter-intuitive but the more unnecessary information you can remove, the more attractive and easier to read your website will become.
Keeping these key design principles in mind and applying them to your own website will not only allow you to direct your user’s attention towards the most important areas of your website but will also enhance the viewer’s focus onto your message, story and service or products.
Make your first impression count.