Proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, white space, color, advertising, Jakob's Law, and validation
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Most visual web design principals were well established long before the Internet. They are the principals for print. Now, I will summarize a whole book into ideas. You'll have to read The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams for the details.

Proximity   Group related items together (see page 15).
Alignment   Every item should have a visual connection with everything else on the page (see page 27).
Repetition   Repeat some aspect of the design through out each page and throughout the site (see page 43).
Contrast  If two items are not exactly the same make them different, really different (see page 53).
White space  Professional designers use "lots" of white space (see page 12) but they avoid "trapped" white space (see page 22).

Robin doesn't mention color but it's easy to find complimentary and contrasting colors at Color Schemer OnLine. We chose the first two of these for our banner and menu background:








Color harmonies with interesting explanations from Taylor Made Web Creations.

I'm afraid that several web advertising principals were well know long before the web, not that anyone paid attention. Once again the model is print advertising. David Ogilvy revealed the secret on page 70 of Ogilvy on Advertising in 1983. One key: black type on a white background.

Jakob (Nielsen's) Law: Websites must tone down their individual appearance and distinct design in all ways. Designers want to make things different. Surfers want predictability. Read more from Jakob Nielsen.

Validation of HTML and style sheets is a good thing of course. Most folks use validation to determine why their site doesn't look or behave as they'd like. But, it can help insure that your site will work with different browsers. You can validate your HTML here and validate yourstylesheets here.


Terry Kearns and JoAnn Kearns, Atlanta, Georgia