Principles of Web Design: Focus
Whether you’re aware of it or not, people can tell a “good” website design from a “bad” one. In fact, they may not know what it is about a specific design, layout, color scheme, etc. that makes your competition stand out as a premier provider of services, but they can feel it regardless. What causes this sixth sense of quality? More likely than not, it’s proper use of the fundamental principles of design. When you learn what makes design eye-catching and easy to understand, you’ll never see another website, billboard, or product display the same way again.
Over the course of four blog posts, we’ll explain these fundamental principles: Focus, Alignment, Repetition, and Contrast. You’ll learn just a taste of what our designers think about with every web design project, not to mention the technical aspects of hosting and troubleshooting increasingly complex designs, to get a better understanding of when your practice’s website might need a refresh.
Fundamentally, you’re interested in what people pay attention to when they’re interacting with your website and your brand. Attention can literally be drawn with focal points and proper layout of information. If you place elements too far apart, people’s eyes won’t be drawn to the next closest piece of content. If you crowd them too closely, it can be hard to see where one piece ends and another begins. This is the power of proximity, which can be used to imply hierarchy, or the organizing principle of creating focal points along with the most important information.
As designers know, not everything on a webpage is as important as everything else. Things like your logo, the title of the page, and whatever information you want to use to support the subject of the page should be the main focal points you design with. These should be large and distinct, but not too distracting compared to the body text or the images you want to use.
Understanding what’s important for your visitors to focus on gives you a clear idea of how much contrast should be on the page, and what needs to be emphasized or de-emphasized.
Harnessing focus from your website visitors means giving them plenty of room to explore while enticing them with relevant information. This means delivering content that matches the purpose of each specific page. For example, on before-and-after gallery pages, focus can be drawn with pictures and very little text for those who are interested in the results of a procedure they’re already thinking about. However, for those doing more extensive research, procedure information will be what they want to focus on, rather than an endless scroll of pictures.
Focus on a website can’t be limited to one device these days, either. You have to think about how your brand looks on a mobile device as well as a large monitor. So-called screen “real estate” can drastically change your approach to design, which is why our team uses adaptable code to automatically re-calibrate your website design to optimize how close together elements are and how large the font is to make it seem natural for every device your potential patients could be using.
Understanding the principles of design can help you spot when something doesn’t look right on a website or in real life, but it doesn’t help you build a great-looking site from scratch. That’s where our teams of designers and developers come in. With extensive experience designing brand-new sites for practices across the country, we’re here to help give you the guidance you need to build a website and brand that sticks out. Call our team or contact us today for more information.