Design Aesthetics for the Web

In this post, it introduces the aesthetics of the web in the following questions:

  • What is Aesthetics?
  • What are the elements of design?
  • Why it is important?
  • What does Nielsen Norman’s study found on how people view a webpage?
  • How to improve the designs to engage visitors through webpages both aesthetically and intellectually?

What is aesthetics?

In general terms, aesthetics is a term belongs to philosophy.

The term aesthetics was invented in the 1730s by a philosopher named Alexander Baumgarten.

He introduced the concept of “taste” where one judges the beauty of an object by one’s senses: there are sigh, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

Speaking of beauty, people view this word differently; which leads to a question: Is beauty objective or subjective? It actually could be both.

For those who are saying it is objective, there are indeed some historical paintings back from hundreds of years ago which people all agree that they are beautiful, like the Mona Lisa.

Also for those who regard beauty is subjective, there is an example from someone named Immanuel Kant.

Kant revised the concept of aesthetics as “the subjective means by which one can judge and appreciate beauty.”

He agreed to that beauty is subjective, it can shift over time, and it is dependent on context.

Aesthetics, as it relates to graphic design nowadays, has come to refer to means employing one or more of the elements and principles of design.

What are the elements of design?

The elements of design are the basic elements associated with creating any design.

What is different between principles and elements is that the former is like the rules you should obey, while elements are the pieces that will help you follow those rules.

There are eight elements of design, and they are color, value, texture, shape, form, space, line and type.

Why aesthetics is important to you as a web designer?

Due to the popularity of the internet and touch-enabled electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones nowadays, design aesthetics is surpassing the visual to enter other senses such as hearing and touch.

Good designs communicate a mood or a feel that goes beyond the content in the design.

In design, first impressions are extremely important.

The beauty or aesthetics of a design can make the difference between positive and negative impressions.

Good design can produce positive feelings about a product or service, so does the counter wise.

The process of valuing whether a particular design is good or not often goes quickly and subconsciously.

s a web designer, it is responsible to create good designs for your audience.

Also, there are good design is everywhere in our life.
Design influences everything, and we can find examples of it everywhere. Such as our clothing and our architecture.

Moreover, we experience design at every turn. For example in the supermarket, on our electronic devices.

What does Nielsen Norman’s study found on how people view a webpage?

When designing a web, the designer not only has to consider the meaning and relative importance of the site content but also have to reflect on the user’s experience and to expect visitors’ habits and needs.

There have been a lot of studies analyzing internet user experience, and the results have almost changed the way we build websites today.

There is one study carried by Nielsen Norman’s Group about how people view a webpage, the heat mapping evidence shows that the eyes travel in a very specific way when viewing a webpage.

it says, “Eye-tracking visualizations show that users often read webpages in an F-shape pattern, two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.”

On the map, where the red or hottest areas means where the eyes spend most of the time.

This type of study tells us that the most important content needs to be easily accessible for those visitors who may be read by rapidly scanning the site.
It was further discovered by the Nielsen Norman Group that users will not read the text thoroughly, so it is important to make sure the information must be organized in an aesthetic and intellectual form.

How to improve the designs to engage visitors through webpages both aesthetically and intellectually?

  1. Choose a readable font for the paragraphs, so the text is easy to skim.
  2. The use of Color is crucial to communicating effectively.
  3. Try to work with a grid-based layout. It helps make content be organized.
  4. Organize the content in an F pattern there too.
  5. Highlight the most important parts in each section, using headings and images.
  6. Keep the content simple, so people will be more likely to see it.
  7. Breaking down content into bite-sized pieces, such as using lists.
  8. Labeling everything and using folders to group layers.
  9. Pay attention to the details. Add essential content and remove anything non-essential.

The more clear you make a website’s information displayed, the more likely the visitors are going to engage with the sites; to purchase their goods and share the site with their social group.

In conclusion, building the website both aesthetically and intellectually can help the visitors engaged with the site better. It is important to use aesthetic and intellectual ways when constructing websites.

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