Any website regardless if it is an online store for luxury fashion or the one from your local plumber evokes emotions in the people browsing it. What emotions these are, are completely up to you, but keep in mind that emotions are closely related to user experience. A great web designer does not only know that websites create feelings but also knows how to make your clients feel what youwant, whether these are positive or negative feelings does not matter.
To introduce you a little bit to this topic here are some of the most common elements of a website and their psychological impact. The thing about emotions is that they are omnipresent. You simply cannot create a website which does not do anything in our minds, so better do it right the first time.
You have probably heard “content drives design” before. The first thing to mention here is that most people do not read all the information on a website. The vast majority reads in “Z-shape”. Meaning content should bein the top left, middle and bottom right.
People click on a website to get the information they want quickly and without being faced with a novel. Simplify complex processes and organize content to reduce user stress. The days when pages were packed with words, often times more than 10,000 words, are over. Studies show that the attention span of people has dropped by 40% since the year 2000, so there is no way you will keep clients on a website where they need to spend an hour just to find the information they want. Try to find the balance of providing adequate information and not overwhelming visitors.
“White space” is the areas of a design without content or elements and without attention demanded by the visitor. It provides a resting place for our eyes and is therefore an important element, especially in web design. Most white space is found in margins and around elements. These visual breaks can also be used to drag all the attention to something.
Nowadays we have a strong trend towards minimalism in all fields, for web design it is the same.
If a visitor comes to your site and all the real estate is occupied, they will start to feel uneasy and potentially leave.
On the contrary: If you deal with space respectfully and know how to organize a website people are more likely to stay. You also portray professionalism and make it easier for people to trust in you and your work, because you clearly have everything under control.
Typography can transfer many emotions that is why typefaces are designed to be used in specific situations and for certain uses. Serif fonts like “Times New Roman” are often associated with professionalism, scholarly, and seriousness, while san-serif fonts like “Helvetica” are a bit more modern feeling, clean and more informal. Most news websites and law firms use serif fonts and the majority of technology companies and social media platforms use san-serif fonts.
The way type is presented on the page is also important. Leading (space between the lines) and kerning (space between the letters) should be adjusted as well. Large leading with lots of white space between lines makes the copy feel airier and easier to read; little leading gives a crowded feeling and is hard to read more than one paragraph at a time.
Moreover, make sure to leave space between paragraphs and to have enough of them. No one wants to read a 1000-word paragraph.
It is often the designers’ job to understand the psychology of their design choices when producing a design, but understanding the basics in some key areas of design will help you understand and even further help produce great content and manage your web design more effectively.
While these areas focus mainly on website design, a lot of the psychology of design can be used in other areas of design as well, such as logo and print design.
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