How to use the Gestalt principle in your web design projects

How to use the Gestalt principle in your web design projects
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Web designers are constantly looking for new ways of improving their projects and therefore they are introducing in their works elements from mathematics, marketing, photography, psychology, and the list may continue. As far as psychology is concerned, the Gestalt principle is widely known among web designers since it relates so good to the field of web design. In the following paragraphs, readers will find out more about it and its utility, so that they will be able to use it for their future projects.

Definition

But, let’s start at the beginning and let’s define this concept. The Gestalt principle is a German expression and it could be translated as essence or shape of an entity’s complete form. In order to better understand this principle you should know that this theory will help your mind arrange the visual information.

Therefore, you can now see why this is so related to web design.

Why should I apply this theory in my web design?

Gestalt principle apply in web design

It is obvious that the lines that are to come will give you the answer to this question. Nevertheless, if you are interested in finding out the main qualities of these principles, then one should definitely mention that since these have the purpose of bringing out the manner in which an image is perceived, then it will be easier for you to send a message, to make a point and to satisfy your clients. Thus your audience will grow, precisely because of the fact that you’re giving them exactly what they need, which will lead to the flourishing of your business.

In the previous paragraph it was mentioned that there are more principles, as far as the Gestalt theory is concerned. As a result, you will get plenty of information about these and you will learn how to use them, in order to make your website look impressive, to deliver the right idea and to make the readers become addicted to your creations.

1. Proximity

Gestalt Proximity

Proximity or grouping is easier to understand once you will realize that such examples are practically everywhere. To be more precise, when you surf the web it is impossible not to find various things that are placed in a specific order. Well, once you saw this placement your mind starts working and it helps you perceive these things as making part of a group. Now you know that this is a psychological principle that web designers use, in order to make their contents stand out and to help their readers see the connection between two groups.

In case you were wondering where you can use the proximity principle you should know that it does wonders for navigational links or for the arrangement of different icons or menus. Also, it is good to know that this will surely render your customers happy, since it helps a lot at making your web page easier to browse.

2. Similarity

Gestalt Similarity

From the name of this principle it is easy to understand that this will be used in the case of those items that are alike. These objects will be perceived as making part of a group and their similarity could consist of the size, color, form, length, and so on.

Once again people will find it easy to navigate your web page thanks to the similarity principle, which could be used either to make the most important elements stand out or maybe to direct the attention of your audience towards certain links, icons or images.

3. Figure-Ground

Gestalt Figure-Ground

This principle will help you deal with the elements that are placed against a background. The relationship between the foreground objects and the background (the first should be more eye-catching than the latter) will help you organize the contents of your web page, so that your audience will be able to see the relation between your items. Besides making the foreground objects stand out, the figure-ground principle could also help the web designer when it comes to the logos of their website or to their call-to action buttons

4. Closure

Gestalt Closure

If you will decide to use this principle when designing your website then you will introduce objects that will need to be closed, because they themselves are not complete. To be more precise, when it comes to this principle, one should perceive the whole picture as having an additional element that will improve the image, from an aesthetical point of view. However, you will have to make sure that you will create something simple and easy to spot.

As for the appliance of the closure principle, it is safe to say that this could be used for the logo of your business or for the homepage of your website. Anyway, if you will remember about simplicity and easy to recognize elements, it will be extremely easy to use this technique in your design projects.

5. Common fate

Gestalt Common-Fate

Even if this label may appear strange, in fact this principle is very easy to apply on your website. Common fate refers to those objects that appear to move in one direction. These are perceived as being related to each other more than being related with the stationary ones or with the ones moving in a different direction. Because they go in the same direction they are said to share a common fate.

This principle is very easy to use for your drop down and sliding menus and also for certain user interface elements, such as the tooltips. By using this principle, your visitors will find the information they need faster and thus they will complete their tasks at a rapid rate, which will lead to their satisfaction.

6. Symmetry

Gestalt Symmetry

If you will apply the principle of symmetry in the design of your website, then your items will take the form of symmetrical shapes. Anyway, it is a fact that people are attracted to symmetry and as a result, it would be a shame not to use its advantages when designing your website. And besides that, since symmetry is everywhere why shouldn’t it be on your web page as well?

As you may have imagined, this principle could be used when creating logos or maybe when arranging various elements (images, icons, chunks of text) on your webpage. Your readers will find it easy to read the information you have posted or to take a look at your images, since the whole picture seems neat and organized.

To conclude, these are the Gestalt principles and this is how they can help you improve your work. As you can see, if you will apply them suitably you will manage to create a beautiful design that you and your clients will much appreciate.

 
 
Author:
Adrian is a passionate blogger and chief of the team behind DesignModo website. This blog is a great resource where you can find tons of tutorials, freebies and Big collection of Web UI Kits and Icons; Professional and pixel perfect User Interface packs for Designers and Web Developers.

4 Comments

David Jun 1, 2013

This principle will be a great help to me! Never thought about gathering theory from different fields of expertise could help me on my web design and development venture! Maybe, I can think of other principles that might help me on gathering CTA and audience/readers! Thanks a bunch for this mind-opening article about different principles of web design!

Stacy James Jul 1, 2013

I like to spend my free time by reading various internet resources and today I came across your blog and I understand that it is one of the best free resources available!

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