Six Design Techniques With Highest Usability
Complex design techniques are often time-consuming. Some of these advanced effects can add value to designs, but when used in the wrong place, they do little more than distract viewers from the project’s intended focus. These effects may be precisely what a design needs to have the impact it requires, but even in these cases, they should be complemented by simpler effects.
Simple effects and techniques are the building blocks of today’s designs. For example, what good is a stellar lighting technique if you can’t decide which colors to use? With a “less is more” mentality, these are 6 very simple and impressive design techniques that are brought into use most often:
1. Vivid use of colors
Bright colors in website designs can add a lot of visual interest. Using colors vividly is one of the design techniques you need to follow. They’re best for sites that want to appeal to younger demographics or for more casual sites. Using colors either in similar hues or saturation makes for a more cohesive appearance and keeps things from looking too busy.
Make sure if you try using vivid color schemes that you allow sufficient contrast between elements without using too much (such as red text on a green background). This is especially important with text, as improper contrast can make things very difficult, if not impossible, to read.
2. Gradients and lighting effects
Gradients and lighting effects can be used for dramatic or subtle effects, or anything in between. Mixed or used separately, they can add a bit of extra polish to designs. A subtle tone-on-tone gradient can make a great background, while gradients mixed with lighting effects are often used to create awesome header images.
If you’re mixing gradients with lighting effects (particularly multiple effects), be careful that your design doesn’t end up too busy. Limit either the colors used, or the intensity of the lighting effects, or the overall number of effects for best results.
If you’ve ever been stumped with the predicament of how to make something stand out more, or stand out less, or make it nearly disappear, take a look at using blurs in different ways. By blurring objects in the foreground, background or by blurring the entire design, you can dramatically increase the impact of your project.
The Ios V2 wallpaper collection uses simple blurs to create a calm, organic view. There are only a few sharp lines to give the image focus, and the blurred background is crucial to the look of the wallpaper as a whole.
Anti-aliasing can be summarized as the smoothing out of edges, and it applies to all design techniques and all aspects of design too. In the world of web design, anti-aliasing is partially determined by whether the text will be in HTML or shown as an image. Complicating things a little more, some web browsers and operating systems automatically smoothen out HTML text a bit.
Stockxpert makes a conscious choice on its very simple landing page to anti-alias some lines of text and not others. Most of the text has a very smooth edge and does not appear choppy at all. But that’s not the case for the small text at the top and bottom of the page.
Mess things up! Things that look perfect often look fake or uninteresting. Leaves on trees are not exactly symmetrical or lighting of any kind provides uneven shadows and highlights. Some design techniques are such that they will just look great with clean and artificial-looking effects. But others need something messier.
Altering the alignment of design elements can make them more memorable, more talked about in design techniques and, consequently, much more effective. This technique applies not just to the text.
Some designers fall back on templates or personal work habits when conceptualizing a design. This can greatly increase the speed with which concepts are turned over to clients. But all too often, it also restricts creativity — especially with regard to alignment.
Icon Designer sets itself apart by rotating a few design components. The page would otherwise be fairly monotonous, but the simple rotations keep things interesting.
6. Muted colors
Using muted colors is one of the design techniques to create a subtle, inviting site. Mixing in muted colors with one or two brighter or darker accent colors can be put to good use to make certain elements of your site stand out. Muted colors don’t need to be limited to grays or browns. You can use any hue in the spectrum, just toned down or with a grayish-tinge.
CSS Addict, Cuisine Saine, I-Avion, Ian James Cox are among the few who make use of this technique.