Aesthetics are considered to be the fun part of design. It can be very easy with deadlines looming and technical difficulties prevailing to cut corners with aesthetics. But it’s so important to do it properly, because that extra layer of care goes a long way. The difference between good design and great design can often be subtle, but subtlety works on a subconscious level, people will be impressed by good design without knowing it, but great design will thrill them. They’ll love what they see, and they’ll come back for more and with the whimsical, temporary, intangible nature of web design, it’s so important to motivate your visitors to return.
Art and Design Traditions
There’s a good reason that most of the principles used in art and print design have carried across to the Web, and that’s certainly is true when we’re talking specifically about aesthetics. So it makes perfect sense, to consider these traditional techniques.
Fixed or Flexible?
Because of the flexible nature of web sites, and the variable size of users’ browser windows, we only have limited areas to work. Mostly this is down to the fact that we have to cater for the average user; that is, those with small screens.
Many users’ windows appear at a variety of widths: especially on Mac, where maximizing behaves differently than in Windows; even on large screens, whether a user will have a window open at anywhere near it maximum width and height is indeterminable. What’s more, we’re unaware of how large the user’s text will be; since it’s possible to set a preferred font size in the browser’s preferences, those choices could affect the way text is displayed in our design.
In design, a grid works around the premise that visual information is easier to digest if elements are in alignment horizontally or vertically. The average viewer will probably be unaware, consciously of the alignment, but with so many aesthetic principles, the satisfaction they experience happens on almost subliminal level. And if the eye moves around the page naturally, we’re talking major brownie points for usability!