Good web design is not just about the looks. It is also about the message being delivered to the user and this is probably much more important that it being pretty. Designing a visual message which will contain text has to be easily understood by the people you deliver that message to.
Given this, you have to master the method of connecting to the people that visit your website. Besides knowing what they want and what they are looking for, you will have to know how to make it comfortable for them to find the information they need. Whether we are talking about super tech geeks or computer illiterate persons, you will have to find a way to connect to both of these categories.
Web design can be compared to the body language of the Internet and I will totally agree with this affirmation. Once you master delivering a message through non-verbal communication, you will also be able to deliver that message through web design. So, a designer is not only a person with plenty of technical skills and creativity, he has to be a good communicator that can just put his message out there so that most of us can understand what he means. A website is a dialogue and it has to exist on both sides of the “barricade”.
Body language and web design – do they have something in common?
Some of us are really good at body-language. The right expressions and movements will make you a good communicator even if words don’t come out the way you wanted them to. You have to learn how to use your voice, eye-contact and gestures in order to make yourself understood but what happens if we have to rely on computers to deliver our message? Let’s face it, life slowly switches online and we can find there any information we can possibly imagine, given the fact that we find the right sources.
When we are Online, we cannot use our personal body language in order to communicate, this is why we relate to different other means in order to do that and it might end up to be tricky. Even if technology plays an important part in our day-to-day life, it doesn’t mean that we can ignore the simple fact that we are human and that we relate to our basic instincts. Hence, communication and body language is one of them. But how do we make it online?
Unfortunately there are just a few websites that have a strong “body-language” that most of us could understand, while others are still just cluttered advertising space full of stuff that confuse us. Even if some of them look perfectly technical and skillfully made, they are clearly made by people with no visual or communication skills whatsoever.
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Deliver your most important message fast
Websites have to be user oriented first of all. They have to meet the needs of the people searching for them, thus making them user-friendly is a must. By user friendly I would suggest an easy-to-understand navigation for instance. In journalism one of the most important principles is The Inverted Information Pyramid.
It states that you have to deliver the most important information first (that makes the base of the pyramid) and end up with the additional details that don’t count so much. This is what makes communication successful and that every web designer should take into consideration in my opinion.
Make your website easy to navigate so that people will intuitively find the most important information fast. Your navigation bar should be easy to use and try not to make it too fancy. Although it might look terribly cute, it might confuse the user.
Eye contact is important
Eye contact and hands are some important methods of communicating when using body language. The same comes for websites, the only difference being that you have to use other tools for that. Try to center the focus on the information you think your client wants to find first. For instance if you have a website for a take-out restaurant, the menu and the phone number are of course the most important information that the client will want to find fast.
Also, don’t over force social media or useless advertising on your user, because this is disturbing. Try to use colors, buttons or different other methods in order to focus the attention on a certain part of the website.
Focus only on what needs attention
This is strongly linked with the tip mentioned above. Although focusing the attention of the user is important, don’t over force it. Prioritizing is very important as I have said in my previous articles about clean web design. Decide on what is the most important and what message you would like to deliver first and focus on it with all the methods you can (using graphics or media and such).
Remember that body language is often not even noticed by most of us. It comes naturally and only on a subconscious level we understand what one is trying to say. This goes for web design in most cases as well. We will probably notice a bad speaker, because of his weird moves and not understand him; hence we can definitely spot a bad design that is poorly done and that doesn’t meet our needs. If a design doesn’t have the needed harmony, it will most probably send a mixed message and this is definitely something we don’t want.
Generally we need more than words to communicate. This is when body language comes into the picture and it is the same in web design. We might have the best content on the web, but if we can’t put it out there and communicate it to the public, there is no way people will understand us.