Visual design is vital to an engaging website. This is because people are attracted to beautiful and visually harmonious objects. For example, millions of tourists visit art museums and churches in Europe every year.
A business website isn’t a work of art per se, but quality visual elements are sure to help you drive engagement, conversions, and retain your audience. Graphic design can enhance your curb appeal, but your website also needs to offer a functional and rewarding user experience (UX). Ultimately, a blend of aesthetics, content, and intuitiveness is best.
This article discusses how visuals impact click-through rates on websites, and how to balance graphic elements with UX design to drive optimal engagement.
1. UX and Visual Design are Complementary
Graphic design and UX design overlap but are distinct. UX design is the process of making it easy and meaningful for visitors to interact with your website. UX designers arrange the site elements to allow for a seamless user journey, paying close attention to navigability and usability. They also consider how on-page interactions influence people to engage with your brand. Graphic design is the creation of visual elements to communicate an idea – your brand.
The graphic designer creates and aligns the visuals, images, and typography into a visually pleasing interface. They also take direction from the UX designer, who is responsible for the overall structure of the website. Graphic design is critical to UX because people rely on visual cues to inform their opinion of a website.
Visual design influences peoples’ post-use perceptions but usability does not, according to Don Norman, author of Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things.Research confirms that people prefer updated and professional websites because they perceive them to be trustworthy.
People are quick to dismiss unattractive websites, nor will they frequent a non-functional website. People are less conscious of UX than of graphic design, but they notice when something is lacking or out of place.
The best web UX merges distinctive graphics elements with clear navigational cues. When both UX and graphic design are aligned, it creates a compelling interface that invites engagement.
2. Visual Design Guides Action
Visual design is “strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements” in a way that enhances a design or engages the user, according to Usability.gov.
Quality visual design draws the eye to the function needed to accomplish a task, such as a call-to-action or a navigation menu. It also helps users to prioritize the on-page elements that will lead to an intuitive UX. Visual hierarchy – or the order in which a user processes the information on a page – is critical to website design. This is because the human eye is automatically attracted to larger, brighter, and less complicated objects. Visual hierarchy allows you to influence how visitors navigate and engage with your site. When the visual elements create a flow, you can conduct users through your site in the way you want.
Relevant factors that influence visual hierarchy include:
- White space, or negative space
Ultimately, the arrangement of graphic elements on a page can be used to drive user actions.
3. Examples of UX and Graphic Design
Outstanding visual design helps you attract customers, drive engagement, and bolster UX. Below are two examples of brands using graphic design to amplify their messaging and customer journey.
Tiffany & Co. Uses Color to Create Emotion
Color has a huge influence on people’s emotions and their perceptions of your brand. One study found that 90% of snap online purchases are based on color alone. It’s important to use your brand colors consistently. Deviating from the normal palette, though, can help you attract customers, arouse action, or signal a special occasion.
Below we see Tiffany & Co. recolor their homepage in spectacular fashion just in time for Valentine’s Day. Vivid hues and sparse text draw attention to the product and emphasize the emotionality of the messaging. Bold colors and fun shapes allow you to arrest attention and invite engagement on every channel.
Adobe Dazzles Instagram Users
Adobe uses custom graphics and photography on its Instagram to evoke awe and inspiration. The visuals are coordinated by color and theme and arranged to create a sense of movement. This creates a cohesive and compelling gallery that effectively reinforces the Adobe brand identity. Regardless of channel, custom graphics are a great way to generate interest in new content. If your visuals are better than your competitors, your audience will be eager to engage with you.
Distinct Graphics Enhance UX
UX design and graphic design both aim to create a meaningful site experience for visitors. Graphic designers focus solely on visual elements, while UX designers are responsible for the entire site experience. Since people are highly visual, quality graphic design can help you enhance your UX and drive engagement better than anything else.