Visual communication is a crucial aspect of web design. It can make or break the user experience and the overall impression of your website. However, many web designers make common mistakes that undermine their visual communication and hurt their website performance. In this blog post, we will discuss four of these mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Using excessive graphics
Graphics are great for adding visual interest and conveying information quickly. However, using too many graphics can have the opposite effect. It can slow down your website loading speed, distract the user from the main content, and create visual clutter. Excessive graphics also tend to make the website look unprofessional and outdated.
- Use graphics only when they are relevant and necessary for your message.
- Optimize your graphics for web use by reducing their file size and resolution.
- Balance your graphics with white space and text to create a clear hierarchy and contrast.
- Choose graphics that match your website style and color scheme.
Mistake #2: Inaccessible visuals
Visuals are not only meant to be seen, but also to be understood. Skirt the edges of legibility and you will be excluding a large portion of your potential audience. People with visual impairments, color blindness, low vision, or different screen sizes will likely have difficulty accessing and reading your visuals. Which often results in frustration, confusion, and loss of interest.
- Use alt text for your images to provide a textual description for screen readers and search engines.
- Use high-contrast colors for your text and background to ensure readability.
- Use fonts that are legible and scalable across different devices and resolutions.
- Use captions, subtitles, transcripts, or audio descriptions for your videos and audio files.
Mistake #3: Oversized and undersized elements
The size of your elements can affect how users navigate your website. If your elements are too large or too small, they can create problems such as:
- Oversized elements can take up too much space on the screen, forcing the user to scroll excessively or miss important information.
- Undersized elements can be hard to see or click on, especially on mobile devices or touch screens. If they are that unimportant, you should probably consider dropping them altogether.
- Inconsistent element sizes can create confusion and inconsistency in your layout and design. Just lay out in your head how element size is supposed to work and stick to those rules. The clearer they are the faster your customers will get used to them.
- Use responsive design techniques to make your elements adapt to different screen sizes and orientations.
- Use consistent and appropriate sizes for your elements based on their importance and function. Again, plan it out in your head, and then mix and match.
- Use grids and alignment tools to organize your elements in a sensible and harmonious way.
Mistake #4: Focusing on the wrong elements
Visual communication is not only about what you show, but also about what you emphasize. If you focus on the wrong elements, you can mislead or bore your users. E.g.:
- Focusing on irrelevant or trivial elements can distract the user from the main message or goal of your website.
- Focusing on too many elements can overwhelm the user with too much information or choices.
- Focusing on too few elements can leave the user unsatisfied or uninformed.
- Identify the purpose and goal of your website and each page. Make sure everything else coheres on the backdrop of that goal.
- Prioritize the most important and relevant elements for your users. And make sure all of it is quickly scannable. There are different techniques of scanning, so try to tailor your elements to those templates.
- Use visual cues such as size, color, position, shape, animation, etc., to highlight the key elements and guide user attention.
Visual communication is a powerful tool for web design. However, it can also be a double-edged sword if not used properly. These four topics are a start, so hopefully they helped you get a hang of the general approach.