Role of Visual Design in User Experience | ENOU Guide 2023

by | Jan 5, 2023

When you open a website, the first thing that gets your attention is the visual components of its design. The way a website’s layout looks has a significant impact on how customers will interact with it. The role of visual design in user experience helps shape a customer’s journey with digital platforms.

But what makes UI/UX design effective? Visual design is the most crucial factor influencing a user’s interaction with your platform. There is a concept called the “aesthetic usability effect,” which says that people tend to ignore usability flaws of an interface if the products or design is aesthetically pleasing. Keep reading to learn more about visual design’s role in user experience.

What Is Visual Design in UX?

Visual design in UX is the art of creating and organizing visual elements in a way that helps users understand, navigate, and interact with your product.

Visual design is a significant part of any website or application, and it’s essential to ensure that your product looks good and works well. Visual design isn’t just about how something looks—it’s about how something works and feels. When designing an app or website, you must consider the colors, shapes, fonts, images, and buttons. Each one of these elements can influence how users interact with your product.

role of visual design in user experience

Visual Design Example

Take these examples! If you’re designing an app for children learning to read, you might want to use bright colors and patterns so that kids can easily find their way around the app without getting lost in a sea of text or icons.

On the other hand, if you’re designing a website for people who are visually impaired or blind, then you’ll probably want to make sure that every single element on the page has a clear outline so users can see where everything is at all times, even if they can’t see it directly.

Learn How to Design a Website in 15 Steps?

Role of Visual Design in User Experience & Its Importance

The field of visual design has developed through user interface design (UI) and graphic design. That is why visual design is more about adjusting text, colors, images, and design elements to enhance the user experience through design. Hence the importance of visual design in user experience cannot be neglected.

Visual design can increase the usability of a website by making it simple for users to understand what they are looking at and how it relates to other content areas on the page, as well as making it easy for them to find what they are looking for. It creates a flow for the user, making it easy for them to navigate and interact with the content. It is also used to make the site more aesthetically pleasing and easier on the eye.

role of visual design in user experience

Visual design affects usability through its impact on readability and legibility (how easily users can read text on a page) and navigability (how easily users can move around within a website or app). The two most important factors that influence the role of visual design in UX are color scheme and layout.

Of course, many other factors influence how crucial visual design is to your UX, for example:

  • the type of industry you’re in
  • the purpose of your site (e.g., selling products vs providing the information)

Read More:21 Laws of UX for Building Successful Designs

How Visual Design Can Create a Better UX?

Let’s see how visual design plays a good role in improving user experience. There are many ways in which visual design influences the user experience. But how can you use visual design to create a better UX for your users? Here are four things that play a part in improving UX through visual design:

  • Consistent design
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Testing visual concepts
  • Trends analysis

1- Consistent Design

An inconsistent design leaves a very negative impression on your users, making the whole experience puzzling. They will have to put more time and effort into learning your interface; no user wants that. An aesthetically unpleasing design can also turn off your users.

So to make sure that users feel comfortable with your design, you have to make the elements consistent apart from making them look beautiful. To achieve this, designers usually plan the website layout and experiment with different styles to test which suits their niche the better.

2- Visual Hierarchy

Your design should have a visual hierarchy on each page, making it easier for users to scan information. It helps to attain viewers’ attention and keep them focused on the content. It is imperative to improve the visual hierarchy because if users do not get the information from your page instantly, they will turn toward your competitors.

One of the most common mistakes designers make is not incorporating visual hierarchy into their designs. They may have a great concept or idea for their product, but without visual hierarchy, it could be difficult for users to understand how it works or where to go next.

3- Testing Visual Concepts

Visual concepts also need to be tested. Humans process information based on the visual aspects of content. So image and color composition significantly impact how people perceive the information on your web page. But you cannot make assumptions about which elements are more attractive to your customers. You will have to take their feedback to get facts and figures on which element goes where.

That is why designers use prototyping and MVP development to test the usability and reliability of a website design and the website’s responsiveness. You should test your product at the earlier stages instead of waiting to launch it. In that way, when you launch your product after incorporating user feedback and analyzing every visual aspect, your product will have a higher chance of providing a good user experience.

4- Trends Analysis

Lastly, you must always analyze trends before starting a design project. Remember that users like to use familiar interfaces, so should use the latest trends in your website’s interface. Instead of investing time in R&D, you can conduct secondary research on market trends for your related niche. That will give you an edge over your competitors. You will also be able to experiment with different layouts and frames.

role of visual design in user experience

Relation Between Visual Design and Product Success

Is it true that visual design matters for the success of all kinds of products? We cannot say that all kinds of businesses need to focus on visual design to get more revenues for their business or conversions. However, for most online businesses or startups, success highly depends on how visual design enhances the user experience on the website/app.

The relationship between visual design and product success is a chicken-and-egg problem. What we mean by this is that it’s difficult to determine whether a product could be successful due to its visual design or whether a good product is necessary for an excellent visual design.

Many products benefit greatly from focusing on visual design as part of their website development process. Visual design should be considered from the very beginning of the project. This is because it affects how people interact with your site, how they perceive its usability, how much time they spend there (and how much time they spend elsewhere), and how likely they are to return in the future.

role of visual design in user experience

Is Visual Design More Important Than Usability?

It is essential to understand that usability and visual design are different. Usability is the ease with which users can accomplish tasks efficiently. Visual design is the look of an interface and how it makes users feel when interacting with it. Both are essential aspects of digital products, but they serve different purposes in creating a successful product.

In web design, it’s a common misconception that usability is more important than visual design. But what does that even mean?

The truth is, there’s no such thing as one being more important than the other. Usability is about ensuring users can easily find the information they need and how easy it is for them to interact with your website. Visual design is more than just making things look pretty—it can make all the difference in whether or not people want to use your product.

When we talk about usability and visual design, we’re talking about two sides of one coin: user experience (UX). And UX isn’t just about how much fun you’re having on your website or app—it’s also about how long you stay there and how often you come back for more.

The Pyramid of User Needs

The pyramid of user needs is a diagram that shows how usability and visual design are both important but in different ways. As we see it, there are three parts to a user experience: functionality, visual design, and usability. These three parts are equally important in creating a positive user experience. The order in which they are prioritized can vary depending on the project’s goals and requirements.

role of visual design in user experience
Hierarchy of user needs by Medium UX blog

Principles of Visual Design for Designers

The elements of visual design are crucial for the aesthetics of a website, but the principles help you understand how to execute it. Let’s look at some principles of visual design that designers must follow to improve the usability and functionality of a website. These principles are also crucial to UX design success. There are mainly three principles that you need to consider:

  • Gestalt
  • Hierarchy
  • Contrast

1- Gestalt

Gestalt means “shape or form” in German. This psychology focuses on how people perceive the world and was founded by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka. It was established on the fundamental principles called “laws of perceptual organization.” According to this philosophy, elements combined with a similar visual appearance seem more related. This is also known as the “law of similarity”.

2- Hierarchy

As also discussed earlier, the hierarchy is vital in visual design. It shows the importance of individual elements added to a web page. Designers change the size of objects to create a visual hierarchy. For example, the title of a web page has a larger font size than the basic information underneath and is usually written in bold letters.

3- Contrast

Lastly, we have the contrast that makes elements stand out. It is created by manipulating different colors in the objects. Contrast also puts on visual weight on individual elements.

The role of contrast in visual design is to elevate elements, making them more appealing and effective. The most common way to do this is through color contrast, drawing attention to an item, or emphasizing its importance.

Another way contrast works are by breaking up an ample space into smaller areas, each of which has a distinct purpose. This helps the viewer’s eye move around the space more quickly, so they can understand it better.

role of visual design in user experience

Conclusion

The role of visual design in user experience is not just to make a website design aesthetically pleasing for the visitors it is also about guiding the customers through the interface. Some aspects of visual design are responsible for enhancing the overall user experience, which is why it cannot be neglected. To create a successful website design that increases your conversion rate or makes users stick to your website for a more extended period, you will have to integrate the best visual components in the design.

FAQs

Is Visual Design Needed for UX?

Yes, visual design is needed for UX. Visual design is essential to UX because it helps users understand your product and its features. It also helps users to find their way into your product. The visual design makes your product more appealing and can help you stand out from the crowd of other websites or apps.

Difference Between Visual Design vs Graphic Design.

Visual design is creating a visual representation of a product or service. This includes everything from the look and feel of a website to the placement of logos on the packaging.
Graphic design, on the other hand, is the process of creating images or text intended to be printed or displayed on some medium.

Is Visual Design Also Needed for UI?

Yes, visual design is crucial for UI. It’s the first thing a user will see, and it can make or break your entire product. Visual design is about creating an experience that’s easy to understand, easy to use, and beautiful—and this applies to web and mobile UI.

Hire a Visual Designer For Your UI/UX Design.

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