Visual design focuses on the aesthetics of a site and its related materials by strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements. A successful visual design does not take away from the content on the page or function.
The basic elements that combine to create visual designs include the following:
A successful visual design applies the following principles to elements noted above and effectively brings them together in a way that makes sense. When trying to figure out how to use the basic elements consider:
One of the main disadvantages of online shopping compared to in-store shopping is the lack of guidance. Walking into any retail location, customers may be greeted with a smiling face asking, “May I help you find what you’re looking for?” Online shoppers, on the other hand, are often forced to find their own way, and secretly wish for that smiling face to help them.
Visual designers have the power to change this scenario and pave the yellow brick road for users, creating a seamless and enjoyable browsing experience that can replace the smiling greeter at the door.
The yellow brick road is the users’ visual path. It allows them to follow a pattern to not only find their final destination, but also to always know where they are within the broader context of the site—no matter how many turns, bumps, distractions, and forks in the road they traverse along the way.
Visual paths guide users from one element to another, and allow designers to control how information is being perceived and in what order. Because readers can only absorb a certain amount of information at one time, it’s imperative to present content using a phased approach. Guide users through information-carrying areas that will help them determine which turns to take next in order to arrive at their final destination or, at a minimum, their next turn/action.