One simple rule in evaluating the visual design of the page is to simply ask, “where does the eye go first?” What element of the design initially draws the users attention? Is this strategic? Or a distraction?
By asking your potential users to look at your page, or using sophisticated eye-tracking equipment, you can determine where most users look first and why, where they look second and why, etc.—does this align with your goals?
The movement of the user’s eye across the page shouldn’t be by accident it is the result of ingrained responses that the user has to visual stimuli.
If your design is successful, the pattern that the user’s eye follows around the page will have two fundamental qualities:
In visual design, a primary tool that is used to draw attention is the technique of contrast, which will:
A design without contrast will be seen as a gray featureless mass.
Uniformity in design is key to effective communication in the fact that your user will be able to draw conclusions based on size, color, typeface, etc.—your main navigation should always look the same on each and every page!
By elements that are consistent and adhere to uniformity, you will provide the user with an easily identifiable mental map of your site and it’s elements.
By developing a uniform and consistent system of elements that work well together, your user will be much more likely to follow along with how the site works as whole.
A technique from print design is the use of grids to layout the page – grids are a precise means of creating a master layout that will adhere to uniformity.
Grids are a combination of verticle columns, horizontal fields, and white space gutters:
Designers have often thought that working inside a grid can be restrictive rather than a creative process. Untrue: