The Web Designer’s Theory of Relativity

Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity. For web designers, this has monumental implications. What is beautiful? Which typeface is perfect for this design? Red or Blue? The questions that we have to deal with on a regular basis often leave us, knowingly or not, returning to notions of relativity in order to walk away from a project without going insane. For the perfectionists among us (and most of us are perfectionists, are we not?!), this is little consolation though. Today we’ll discuss the theory of relativity as it applies to us… Read on Young Einsteins!

My grandfather told me this story once: He was buying some cloth and when looking at one of the cloth designs… and he thought to himself “that is so ugly!” He barely finished the thought when another customer came running in with her fiancé and mother-in-law and went directly to that same design he was thinking about shouting, “Here it is, the design we were looking for!” and bought the whole lot!

Read my full article here: http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/the-web-designers-theory-of-relativity/

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Visual Direction in Web Design

One of the big secrets of design is learning how to guide the visual direction of viewers; This principle is often overlooked by even the most experienced designers, so today we’re going to take a deeper look at how it works. Visual direction is controlling the eye movement of the user; this can be achieved by carefully selecting your images and by well-placed and aligned design elements.

It is greatly established that the default eye movement throughout the page (in an LTR – Left to Right – layout) is from the top left towards the bottom right, however; this can’t be further from the truth, by arranging the composition elements in a certain way, a designer can control and force the movement of the viewer’s eyes in and around the layout of the design. For example, the eye will travel along an actual path such as solid or dotted line, or it will move along more subtle paths such as from large elements to little elements, from dark elements to lighter elements, from color to non-color, from unusual shapes to usual shapes, etc. Graduation of size, and repeated shapes and size of related elements subtly leads the eye as well.

Read the rest of this article on http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/visual-direction-in-web-design/

Concept and Inspiration: Design Theory for Web Designers

Why Developing a Concept Matters in Web Design…

In my last article, The Gestalt Principle: Design Theory for Web Designers, we established the need to start any design with the containing shell design first before going into the details, in this part we will discuss the methodology of coming up with a shell design.

Any containing shape should have a concept behind it – but sadly, lots of designers focus only on a nice-looking shape that really has no meaning behind it. Or worse, they design an entire website based on pre-existing frameworks without even a moment’s thought for how an original design might bring some real meaning to the project.

“Truly great design has meaning behind it – it’s not just pretty shapes, filters or typography – each element should actually say something about the underlying project.”

At this stage, if you followed the methodology of creative requirements gathering (How to Get the Right Creative Requirements From Your Client), you should have enough input to build upon and work out what container shape or style your design will fit in.

Start By Collecting a Library of Reference Images

One of the easiest and simplest ways to find ideas is to have asked your client to give you some keywords to describe how he wants people to feel about his site…. energetic, fresh, young, solid….etc, by simply entering these keywords in any image search such as Google or Bing.

Choosing from these images the ones you like, you will easily find yourself with a large library of brainstorming ideas to start from…

Read the full article here: http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/concept-and-inspiration-design-theory-for-web-designers/

How to Get the Right Creative Requirements From Your Client

Getting the correct creative requirements from your client can often be one of the biggest hurdles in any creative project… but it seems to be an especially difficult task in the field of web design, where clients often know a lot less about their actual needs for a website than we tend to give them credit for. Today’s article examines how to get accurate, meaningful, and actionable creative requirements from your clients.

There is a classic case in which the tenants of a large office building complained about the increasingly poor elevator service. A consulting firm specializing in elevator-related problems was employed to deal with the situation. It first established that average waiting time for elevators was too long. It then evaluated the possibilities of adding elevators, replacing existing elevators with faster ones, and introducing computer controls to improve utilization of elevators. For various reasons, none of these turned out to be satisfactory. The engineers declared the problem to be unsolvable.

When exposed to the problem, a young psychologist employed in the building’s personnel department made a simple suggestion that dissolved the problem. Unlike the engineers who saw the service as too slow, he saw the problem as one deriving from the boredom of those waiting for an elevator. So he decided they should be given something to do. He suggested putting mirrors in the elevator lobbies to occupy those waiting by enabling them to look at themselves and others without appearing to do so. The mirrors were put up and complaints stopped. In fact, some of the previously complaining tenants congratulated management on improvement of the elevator service.

Read full article here: http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/workflow/how-to-get-the-right-creative-requirements-from-your-client/