A Logical User Interface

in Visual Design

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Most designers know that websites can be so over-designed, site visitors may feel lost. They have difficulty knowing where to focus and how to navigate. When users feel “lost” it’s not always due to the visual design; sometimes it’s the conceptual nature of the site’s design.

Conceptual Qualities

The conceptual aspect of site design encompasses the site’s purpose, structure and navigation. When the conceptual design is straightforward and logical, site visitors know what to do when they arrive and they understand what the site is trying to communicate.

The graphic above shows the visual navigation on the home page of Designophy, an online publication presenting diverse design content. The navigation is not only well-designed because of its visual elements, but because it is conceptually clear. The structure and navigation are logical.

Categories are displayed in rows, the category label is on the left and the “more” arrow is on the right. The intriguing elements belonging to each category are displayed in between the two ends in both graphic and text. When I come to this site, I know what to do!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kieran March 2010 at 6:20 pm

I disagree. I think the navigation of the above website is distracting. When I clicked on the link I immediately thought:

1. The top third of the website is very cluttered- the banner is not well placed and the three boxes don’t have enough contrast to catch your attention
2. You have to scroll down the page and focus all of your attention on reading the categories on the left instead of focusing on the content
3. You have to move your eyes back to the left column of headings each time you look at a different element in the grid

Fix: Align the text of the headings horizontally and give each row a unique colour?

cmalamed March 2010 at 10:33 pm

Thanks for taking the time to leave your opinion, Kieran. It’s good to see things through the eyes of others.

Kieran April 2010 at 11:50 pm

No worries. I agree that a grid/column system is a great way to organise content though.

Good example of horizontally oriented content:

But in this case I feel vertical orientation would have been better
eg. http://www.thegridsystem.org/

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