With the boom of the Internet taking the world by storm, graphic and technical designers across the world have a new canvas on which to plaster their dreams: web pages!
Yes, the infinite supply of web pages out there provide countless opportunities for stylistic and creative professionals to experiment and display their work. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the same design techniques that have worked so well for print media will work for its online counterpart.
Changing Graphic Design
The web page format of the internet changes the way we view content. Instead of a physical newspaper or magazine copy in the hands of your readers, you have pre-rendered pages in set dimensions that are based on pixels. This may seem like a limitation of the medium, but you could just as easily see it as an opportunity.
The human eye responds in predictable ways to various website design elements, including text, white space, and images. The relative constraint of web pages allows a smaller window for you to display your content, and also more control of where your viewers eyes are. Understanding these differences is key to effective graphic design on the web.
For example, viewers tend to read web pages in an “F” shape format: reading one or two headlines, then travelling further down the page in a straight line. With this in mind, you can alter the graphic elements of your page to reflect the ways that your users unconsciously view your material and increase the chances that you’ll receive a positive response.
Responsive Website Design
Organization and information flow is different on the web. The compact nature of web design allows us an incredible amount of versatility and efficiency for information distribution. We can create menus, links, and interactive charts to respond to user input and provide information at a faster rate than ever before.
One of the greatest things about web design is also one of the biggest challenges for designers: the ability to predict and provide value to readers before they realize they need it. What that means for designers is that they’ll need to understand the process by which viewers respond to the information presented and proactively facilitate this information flow.
This may involve creation of in-text links that provide outlets for additional information on specific points, responsive lists and menu bars that provide routing options, and coordination of all HTML and back-end web design elements to guarantee an uninterrupted viewing experience.
Part of this includes making sure your responsive website design is tailored to meet the user experience, including whether they’re viewing your page on a bigger monitor than you designed it for as well as mobile optimization. Failure to meet these goals will leave you with a page that is nearly useless to your readership.
Web development creates a unique set of challenges for designers who are only familiar with concepts based in print media. The increased complication of use can backfire when done incorrectly and give the impression of an amateur or under-qualified brand, making it essential to your business that your web development be performed by a team that is capable of handling the challenges of responsive website design.
The opportunity to provide value to your readers is there; it’s up to you to unlock it.