As we sail into the new year, full of new connections to be made and new goals to reach, it behooves us to take a look at the up-and-coming website design techniques that can help us to achieve our digital potential. Your website isn’t just a neat tool anymore – it is your hand outstretched to the world, often your first connection to a new prospective customer or fan. You want to be seen as friendly, convenient, up to date and personal. Here are 5 techniques that are being used very effectively to create those impressions:
Aesthetic, Not Ascetic
Web design has matured from a field strongly limited by available functionality to a field where programming techniques have become ever-more complex and varied. This has allowed the field of website design to become as much an art as a science, and web surfers are paying just as much attention to the visual appeal of a website as the content. A site designed to illustrate the concept that the content is presenting is much more effective than a site focused primarily on the content.
From Print to Pixals
Think of the look of a high-quality magazine like Time or National Geographic; the style you see on those pages is emerging more and more in the World Wide Web. Print design techniques are being used more and more to add visual interest to websites.
- Multiple columns in text shortens lines and aids readability.
- Using @font-face or similar tools to move beyond the very limited set of “safe” fonts (fonts that are most commonly available by default on the average computer) allows designers to add interest and emphasis.
- Highlighted quotes and images as illustrations underline important concepts within the content and break up text so that viewers don’t get bored or overwhelmed by copy.
Think of two pieces of art – one is simply framed and hung, the other has matting between the artwork and the frame. The matting allows the artwork to “pop”, separating it from the frame and the surface on which the whole piece is hung so it stands out on it’s own. The same concept is being used now in web design, with blank space bracketing the main body of content (which helps keep long text in check) and empty space framing off items of particular interest or importance.
A Pleasing Palette
Color is not something to be afraid of! In fact, the use of contrasting colors or neutral vs. bright is a great technique to use to bring attention to something of importance. Think neutral “matting” surrounding a body of content with a bright background, or vivid font colors against a contrasting background.
See It in 3D
No, we’re not talking the kind of 3D that doesn’t seem to be going over as well as the TV industry would have liked. 3D effects though, along with fun or funky icons, add a sense of being slick and modern when used strategically. Don’t go overboard though – an excess of fancy graphics or icons on a page can actually distract a viewer from other things you want them to pay attention to – like the actual content of the page!
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