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How Visual Design Makes for Great UX?

14 September 2020

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Most people, when they hear about designing, automatically think of the visual design. Although designing is so much more than just looking pretty, visual design is one of the major parts of UX and UI designing. It is basic human nature to get attracted to aesthetically pleasing things. The same goes for applications and websites. 

It may not sound right to put aesthetic visuals before usability in UX. But the fact is, visual appeal or amiss can change a lot. Studies proved that people are more likely to trust others who they find attractive, and the same goes for digital products. Websites and applications with aesthetically designed visuals are more likely to earn users’ confidence than the ones that focus just on usability. 

Visual Design and UX

People find those things attractive that they find healthy for themselves. In UX, this means the appeal of a visual design depends on the usability. To enhance design or interaction and engage users, the visual design must include strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements. 

Some people think of visual design as a mix of graphic design and user experience design. While graphics design is the design of static design and visuals, user experience design focuses more on communication. The visual design sits in the middle of those two, creating visuals using static images with the interest of improving usability. 

The attractive visual design depends on the visual hierarchy of a product. It helps designers determine where to put items on the screen and how to call attention to them. It is necessary for communication, to illuminate actions, and to organize information so that the product can be more user friendly. 

 

Five Principles of Visual Design

We all determine how attractive a visual design is, just by looking at it. But what makes them attractive? Nielsen Norman Group, came up with five visual-design principles to help designers drive engagement and increase the usability of a product. 

  1. Scale: This is the most common principle that almost every good visual design takes advantage of. If this principle is correctly used in visual design, three different sizes will be used. The most important elements will be bigger so that they can be more noticeable. 
  2. Visual hierarchy: Visual hierarchy is the system of guiding users’ eyes so that they can end in different design elements of a page in order to their importance. Variations in scale, color, value, spacing, and placement can determine the visual hierarchy of a website. 
  3. Balance: Balance is when the arrangements are satisfying, proportionate, and equally distributed in a design. Balance does not necessarily mean symmetry. It can be symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radical. 
  4. Contrast: Contrast is used in visual design to convey the fact that the visually dissimilar elements have different functionality. 
  5. Gestalt: These set of principles explaining how humans simplify and organize complex images that consist of many elements. They subconsciously arrange the parts into an organized system that creates a whole look, rather than interpreting them as individual elements. 

 

Visual Design for UX Designers

UX Designers should always keep in mind that, although the visual design is an important factor, it is not everything. They must not just rely on the visual design to save users from bad user experience. Rather they should also focus on the functionality of the design. But do not ignore the potentials of good visual design. It can work as a strategic differentiator that encourages the users to value one application over another. 

A visually attractive site is like a well-dressed person. If you attend an interview without wearing decent clothes, chances are you won’t land the job. Similarly, a website that does not have visual appeal to it will be often avoided by the users.