All Welcome back to another post in my series “Principles of Design.” designs have to start somewhere. Web design needs to convey material in a meaningful way. When we start brainstorming our design we need to have a goal in mind. We make a mental list of the elements that need to be on the page and the message that material needs to convey and then think about how it needs to be arranged in order to make sense to the user. That’s why we have emphasis, one of my principles of design for the web. It’s an essential part of a meaningful web page.
Emphasis can be conveyed through a myriad of different content types. To give you an example of this we can use focal points throughout the page to tell the story. There are primary focal points and tertiary focal points. Primary focal points tell the eye where to go first. This focal point tells the reader “Hey, start here.” Because we read left to right and start at the top of the page and scroll down our eyes naturally want to start at the top left to start scanning for content. Drop caps, page titles, or photos can be incredibly useful for this area.
Now tertiary focal points can further aid the page’s emphasis by highlighting key bits of information further down the page. Tertiary focal points give your eyes another resting place down the page, pulling you from point to point. They also all support the primary focal point, not overshadowing but aiding in the design message. As an example, we may have a box off to the side, down the page a bit that has a lightly colored background with some key tips or perhaps a pull quote from a customer.
We give emphasis to the things that need to be essential to the reader or use a focal point to direct their eye to that content. Beautiful and organized design that draws the reader through it is insightful and pleasing to view. Make sure your emphasis is in the right place and your readers will enjoy using your site.