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Consistent web design

Friday, February 28th, 2014 by Servage

Unlike a physical store, our web shop and its identity lacks one key ingredient going in: a sense of trust within the community. With a physical store, everything is tangible, we know the actual location of the store and its owners, in many cases, are ones we can go to with complains or feedback. A daunting task for web designers and site owners is to create this sense of trust with their visitors, through various means.

Why We Need Trust

Design and content are the primary factors that influence visitors in providing trust for a website and its content, including products. Fortunately, with content, we can display our physical location and contact information, as well as cite testimonials, ratings, reviews, etc. to help build trust. Though design still needs to consider visual methods to foster a trusting environment on the page and across the entire website. Among these methods, consistency is the most important.

There is a simple psychological factor for using consistency to create trust in visitors. Repetition demonstrates stability, while making user experience easier to navigate. Therefore, to avoid users distraction, frustration and ultimately distrust, we need to design with alignment in the visuals and content, across the entire website.

How to Build Trust

To build consistency in design, we have to focus on core elements such as:

  • Color - the ultimate visual language that concisely and artistically tells messages about your brands or purpose of your website. The budding designer may want to go with a wide spectrum of colors thinking that makes for “artistic.” But us experienced designers know it is best to carefully select a primary color and a few secondary colors.  You have to sprinkle colors on visual elements like icons, buttons, etc. in a fixed pattern, so they remain constant across the site. Colors offer one important benefit for designers; they generate instant feelings and appeal for visitors. Plus they help create a personality of your brand or website. Colors are easily one of the best tools for delivering messages effectively.
  • Visual Elements - also help bring consistency in our branding or for our site messages. Photos and graphics grab the immediate attention of visitors; whereas, buttons, icons and other symbols create subtle messages while bringing seamless and consistent experiences to the user. Therefore, we can’t place one type of button on one page and then other types on other pages for the same purpose. Buttons must be designed and implemented with high consideration for their functionality and role in the visual language of the web pages. Many seasoned designers combine colors with visuals to bring a desired consistency on the page, but more importantly as a theme for the entire site. This creates tone or even personality for the site.
  • Typography - If you were to use one font type on one page and another type on other pages, your users will pick up on this, even if just subtly. It may occur to them that are on the different site or assume the design was done in a hodge podge way, which will reflect on their feelings about the site’s messages.

To bring consistency in your website, you have to carefully consider layouts, size of content, and styles on all your web pages. If the color and other visuals are not delivering repeated experiences, your visitors may feel distracted which can ultimately harm the credibility of you the designer, and your clients in the long run.

References & More Reading

Building Consistency and Relationships into Your Designs

Consistent web design, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Categories: Guides & Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

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