Week 5 – UXD Principles and Concepts

By sethmsparks

In Week 5 of my Principles of UXD course, we moved on to Module 3: A Visual Design Primer. We began the week with a lecture on the topic, learning about principles like visual hierarchy, points lines and planes, balance, rhythm, scale, figure and ground, graming and grids. Together, these principles should create a pleasing harmony and delightful dissonance that help the user easily find the information they are seeking. Each of the principles is important on their own, but they must also work together across a page, across multiple pages, and even from property to property if strategically necessary.

Our assignment this week was to find effective and ineffective examples of designs. For my ineffective examples, I chose wwe.com and a chart from the Iowa CPAs website. The examples were different because wwe.com failed to use many of the design principles and felt flat and littered with random videos. My other example used all of the principles but used them inconsistently, not only across the page but inconsistently within the gridded system itself. My effective examples were airbnb.com and one of the most well-known ads of all time, VW’s 1964 Beetle print ad. Both of these were simple examples, which thinking about it now, I should have tried to find an effective example of a busy site.

Fortunately for me, even though I didn’t find a busy example of effective design, others in the class did. In our discussion, there were countless examples of both simple and busy designs that worked. Everyone did a great job of “noticing” design taking place, and seeing their thoughts alongside the examples was really helpful. The only thing that I’m still struggling to see “in the wild” is the golden ratio. I feel like anything that is off-balance and asymmetric to the rule of thirds can have the Fibonacci spiral placed on it and scaled just enough to make it look like it “works”. Beyond that, all of the principles we learned are simple enough that we can start applying them to work immediately.

As always, notes are here… although with no books this week, they are quite a bit lighter.