How do you define "good design?" Is it subjective, like your favorite flavor of ice cream? Although there is some subjectivity within good design, there are artistic principles that good design is built from. Here are a few that form the foundation of good design.
Because items that are in close proximity to one another become one visual unit, items that are related to one another should be grouped together. Laying out related items on a website page this way helps the eye associate the information and enables the viewer to mentally categorize the information easily. The flip side of this principle is that items that are not related should not be placed in close proximity to one another.
The purpose of the principle of proximity is to organize information in a way that enables viewers to quickly and easily comprehend. When information is organized, people are more likely to read it and respond. People are also more likely to remember information that is organized.
How can you determine if items form a visual unit? Squint your eyes and look at the page on a website. Now count the number of times your eye stops as it views the page. On a page that is using the principle of proximity well, your eye will stop three to five times. In other words, there will be three to five groups of information for the eye to comprehend separately.
About the Author: Laura MacPherson - Creative director at Northstar Creative, a website design studio located in Greenville, SC. Her company, Northstar Creative Web Design, approaches website development differently than many web companies. Northstar Creative combines the use of marketing psychology with top-notch web development to create truly exceptional custom sites for its clients.