This week, we had a wonderful guest speaker come in, Mauvé Page, to discuss the importance of website design and the many factors creators consider when designing their websites. I decided to review a website I visit frequently, Etsy, to apply these factors Mauvé taught us.
The main design principles she taught us consist of balance, rhythm, proportion, contrast and unity. I will be analyzing the screenshot below based on these principles:
Balance is known as the visual equilibrium of the website. As you can see, the opening page of Etsy is quite balanced. If you cut the page in half, it would be almost symmetrical; it contains just enough asymmetry with the featured photos to keep it interesting. The search bar in the top, left-hand corner is balanced out by the basket, sign in button, and other words featured on the top, right-hand corner. All of the words from the search bar down are centred in the middle of the page, making it pleasing to look at because it’s even on both sides. There is also enough white space on the page that allows the viewer to “breathe,” as Mauvé described.
Rhythm is know as the visual movement through space which includes things like repetition of elements and sequencing. It helps create a sense of predictability for the viewer. Initially looking at the Etsy home page, there is definitely repetition and consistency. The feature which draws my attention right away is the consistency in the top bar listing the different categories. At first glance, it appears there is an even amount of space in between each category as well as similar lengths in the actual category names. There is also consistency and rhythm in the fonts; the larger headings and statements are one font, and smaller subheadings and phrases are another, complimentary font.
Proportion is known as the relative size and scale of different elements on the page. This principle is used to emphasize certain features and help direct the viewers attention. In this screenshot, it’s obvious that Etsy wants their viewers to see their Valentine’s Day featured items as soon as they enter the website as the box takes up the majority of space on the page.
Contrast mainly includes the contrast of colours on the page. This is also used to emphasize and direct the attention of viewers. The Etsy home page also uses contrast to emphasize their Valentine’s Day featured items as the first colour viewers see when they open the home page is the pop of red on the mainly black and white website. In general, their contrast of black writing on a white background makes their material easy to read for all demographics.
Unity is the combination of all these principles working together to create a beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing website. Etsy undoubtably demonstrates this kind of harmony with their website. With websites that are designed this way, it can often leave the viewer with the thought, “I love this website, but I’m not sure why.” This is because the website is satisfying their mind’s unconscious love for balance, rhythm, proportion, contrast, and unity of all of these principles.