How do designers speak through design? At the root of every website is content rich with practical language that attracts, rather than repels, as many visitors as possible. Website communication can be visual or verbal, and it can explain the functionality of a site, describe the nature of services offered or call visitors to take action on the page. Clearly written content plays a crucial role in the design of any website.
Whatever the purpose of design communication, the fact remains that design elements can say quite a bit, even without the direct intentions of the designer. For instance, some colors have more of an impact on some than others, so it’s essential to know the general feelings that colors evoke as they are included in design. It’s important to know the basics about design communication in order to successfully use its ability to speak to the audience effectively.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the various ways that thoughts, messages and information is exchanged through design in hopes of gaining a better understanding of design communication and harness its power to positively affect an audience.
Many Ways of Connecting
Thank goodness there are great many different ways to connect and communicate with a web audience. Without such variety, the challenges impeding good communication would make the Internet a very dull and useless place indeed. The reality is that there are many a number of ways to speak clearly through design, and more and more are being developed as time goes by.
Probably, the most practical and basic element of communication is the written word. Depending on the website involved, written words can carry differing impacts. For instance, the reaction to web copy of an e-commerce story gets a completely different reaction from text of a blog entry. Compare these two examples.
Pictures and Graphics
In the design world, a picture can be worth even more than a thousand words. It’s through images and graphics that designers communicate the look and feel of a website. For example, take a look at the portfolio website below of Andrew Gransden. The above the fold photo speaks clearly and calmly while other elements of the site, such as navigation, are kept low-key and unobtrusive.
Similarly, icons can also be huge communicators on a site. Over time, visitors come to expect certain actions to be associated with certain icons, and they tend to take on subjective meaning, rather than just aesthetic value, to the user. Now that’s communication with power.
Another great indicator for communication on websites is the “way” of a designer – placement of a particular design element, content or image, the colors and choices made to complete the design. This could also be described as the style of a website, much the same as the above, in that it communicates the overall look and feel of the site.
Sights and Sounds
Last but not least, sights and sounds, usually in the form of videos or music, can also have a significant impact on the way a website speaks to its visitors. More and more sites are featuring videos as a way to convey a message with the little effort.
Asking these questions and more will help to pinpoint the particular issue that’s holding your design communication back. Once you know the problem, the solution soon follows.