Get in shape

Um, yeah, not that kind of shape – I’m the last person to be giving *that* advice – but rather the kind of shape that makes for interesting and harmonious design on the web. In the 24 ways blog – 24 daily articles on some aspect of web design/programming, active during the last few holiday seasons – there was an article on the shape of things that make up a website. The author talks about how to make sure that the general shape of your navigational elements, call-outs, informational boxes and the like are working together to make a web page that just works. He talks first about a couple of shapes created by header graphics and navigation that just don’t work – they don’t look like they belong together and they don’t look “right”. Then he goes into several different design concepts and how to apply them to the shapes on your pages. Consistency, Balance and Completion are all discussed, and illustrated, to show you the difference between shapes that are just slapped on a page and forgotten and shapes that make a page look finished and well-put-together.
It’s an interesting read and reminded me that the “squint test” (where you squint up your eyes until you can’t see the words on the page, just the shapes that your words and colors make up) is an important step in the design process! The shapes that make up your headers, navigation and content areas should be in harmony and should work together – not be fighting one another for your visitors’ attention.

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