The UX industry places a great deal of importance on usability. There is much emphasis laid on user stories, wireframes, and usability testing. On the other hand, there is hardly any focus placed on visual design. Nonetheless, in my belief a major factor influencing user experience is aesthetics.
Studies have depicted that beauty impact our thinking and behavior. It invites positive emotions and evokes pleasure. People believe that attractive things give better performance than their counterparts.
This fact can be used by designers as they have the power to amplify the usability of well-designed products and cover up for the deficiencies present in merely designed experiences.
For this Gestalt psychology explains that people view the completeness of a specific thing prior to viewing the distinct components. Hence, before focusing on details of each button or form, they undergo a completely aesthetic impression.
In this blog post, we will look at principles, of Gestalt psychology, which can help enhance usability levels via improved visual design.
Use a Brilliant Grid system-Principle of Proximity
According to a principle of proximity, people perceive objects near each other as a single one. There is no good way to regulate horizontal proximity than using a well-designed grid system.
12-column grid with Bootstrap is usually the preferred one. It enables easy customization and easy to replicate in Photoshop. You can also search and find more about grids from the Foundation, PureCSS, or even grids that are not attached to frameworks, such as 1140px.com.
Utilize Design Patterns- Principle of Similarity
As per the principle of similarity, there is a tendency to group objects which are similar in shape, color, and shadow. This provides us with an explanation to transform these similar elements into their own design patterns.
One well-known design pattern, easy to implement, is the card. What your need to do is simply recognize an important component of your application, then present it as a card. When users view that shape and style repeatedly, then they can recognize it easily.
If you need to represent a project in your application, then you must use a card. You can shape it like a file folder. You can also use a card and make it look like an old Polaroid.
The chief benefit of design patterns is that they can bring down the memory load via instant recognition. At the outset, card design may feel like fun visual embellishment.
However, once the principle of similarity is functional, one can realize that it also proficiently conveys groups of information.
Use the Fold – Principle of Closure
According to the principle of closure, we see objects as total even while having been informed that they are not total. This principle is beneficial while working on page fold.
If your content goes beyond the ‘page fold’ then you needn’t worry if it looks clearly cropped. On viewing any cropped content, it would be likely that the visitors will scroll to accomplish the complete shape formed in their minds.
However, you have to make it sure that the cropped content fits a specific shape so that things turn out as expected for the users.
This principle shows that everything need not be shown on the same page. You must let the user’s eye fill in the remainder so that they are enticed to explore further.
Work Towards a Balanced Layout- Principle of Symmetry
This principle states that dividing object into an even number of symmetrical parts is pleasing.
This basic principle is of use as human eyes obviously look for balance. This results in stable and harmonic interactions.
Animate- Principle of Common Fate
As per this principle, we view objects as lines that move in the same direction. This justifies adding animations to designs.
A menu sliding in from the side of the page depicts a relationship between all the links in that menu via their synchronized movement. This principle of common fate is beneficial in connecting different components of a design.
Make Use of Subtle Lines to Link Components- Principle of Continuity
As per this principle, we regard objects grouped if they are aligned within an object.
At times, a number of components may spread across the entire screen. At one glance, one might not be able to perceive their connection even if there is perfect alignment amid them.
To make it clear, you can connect them with a subtle line so that it catches the user’s attention. This principle of continuity makes it possible for design to be read easily like the lines of a paragraph of text.
Avoid Glossiness, Go for Flatness- Principle of Good Gestalt
This principle states that we prefer simple, clean and ordered things. This calls for a flat design.
Flat design is free of heavy drop shadows and complex lighting effects. These all distract users from their purpose. Instead of inciting an action, they might think about different things regarding the material of the button and lights. With the principle of good gestalt, you can empower your designs for effective communication through simplicity.
Use Consistency – Principle of Past Experience
As per the principle of past experience, grouped elements in the past will be perceived in the same way in future. This elucidates the value of consistency in design.
For instance, if you are placing ‘Next’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons in a specific area of a dialog window and if their position changes across different screens then the user might end up performing a wrong action. The principle of past experience is helpful in bringing down confusions and saving user’s time.
“Beauty is the new definition of usability”
Following the fundamental principles of gestalt, one can gain a better understanding of the elements of pleasant and effective designs. Normally, a human being possesses the ability to recognize an amazing design. It is the job of the designers to leverage this ability. Whilst usability is important it is not the sole element influencing web design.