Good Design Improves Usability

Website usability is important, but must be supported by solid design.

Much effort goes into planning an effective user interface. Without thought for what we’re hoping website visitors will do and how we help them get there, there’s not much point in beautiful designs.

But without good design, a wonderfully “usable” website falls flat.

User experience design pioneers Nielsen Norman Group go over some basic design principles in a recent article, talking about how design principles like thoughtful and consistent typography, visual hierarchy, grid alignment, and use of color “collectively make a design beautiful and contribute to a usable experience.”

I like to say that while sometimes we want to make a big statement, often we want the design to stay out of the way and do its job, letting the site strategy and structure shine. But whether the design is edgy and in your face or classic and clean, attention to clarity, focus, and alignment works powerfully in the background, setting up an emotional experience that supports the message.

Authors Sarah Gibbons and Kelley Gordon explain the obvious: “Designs do not look good by chance. Each decision in a design should be made with intention.” It’s why we have designers.

See their useful roundup of design principles that contribute to a beautiful website: Why Does a Design Look Good?

By David Kerr | Filed Under: Design Strategy

David Kerr Design