Imagine you are eating this. When your friend asks you what you’re eating, you wouldn’t say “I am eating bread, pepperoni, cheese”, instead of “I am eating a pizza”!
This is because you have grouped different ingredients namely cheese, bread, pepperoni and have unified them together to form a pizza. People consider these elements as a group, that is usually caused by the subconscious connections humans make and establish a strong relationship between the elements.
Unity holds the design structure together, both visually and conceptually. It adds organisation and eases the user’s journey on the website as they don’t have to decode every element individually. Hence, indirectly, it helps to convey the prime message out and allows the user to only and only focus on that while interacting with the webpage.
It is an interesting concept as well as an important one to be applied in website designing. If we were to look at the definition of Unity, it is “the state of forming a complete and pleasing whole.” It also helps to create a consistent brand identity for the site or the product. It drives a path to connection between the elements so that the users have an easy time progressing between the pages of the website.
Legos implicitly demonstrate the concept of unity. If you notice, by itself, a lego piece may not mean much but when it is combined with other pieces, it forms into a universal whole and creates a unique identity. Similarly, for web design, each element, paragraph, image, navigation, header, footer, logo alone may not be meaningful but when combined together in the appropriate way, they can create a powerful tool.
There are many factors that contribute to a perception of unity within the website design. Some of these are:
Colour is a great way of forming a connection between elements and objects. If you notice, almost everything sticks to a colour scheme since it helps to facilitate a relationship, especially when used in connection with a product. For example, Coca Cola primarily uses red and white colour in their products. Therefore, while using the product, we instantly link the webpage colour with the product colour that further facilitates unity.
Or how Apple maintains consistency and sticks to silver, white and grey colour in their products as well as in their digital presence.
Unity by leveraging colour can also be used by just consistently utilising a defined colour scheme in the design. Inconsistency may cease the flow of user experience as visual links will be missing.
Recurring elements in a design that look identical forms a connection and creates familiarity within the design and makes the user think “hey, I have seen that before!”. The users don’t have to reprocess and decode the particular page of the website again.
Branding a website by using a similar colour scheme, fonts, styles, borders and typography would help to maintain unity among their design. For example:
In the design above, all the sections of the page follow a different colour scheme. The top most section in yellow seems to communicate important information for the users and stands out because of its uniqueness from the colour palette. The important content has also been bolded to draw attention. The font style of the logo differs from the other content. The navigation bar also has adequate whitespace. The colour scheme of purple and white has been repeated several times and used effectively in the design.
Consistency is the key to unity. A soccer team would not go for their match with different coloured jerseys. Instead, they are united as a team with the same colour jersey that represents their brand.
Consistency is achieved by keeping the style of similar elements alike and related to the same colour. When unity is achieved elements would not compete for attention. The theme and the prime message will be communicated more clearly and in greater depth. The users will experience a greater sense of completeness in your composition.
By keeping a consistent alignment, designers can create a visual unity within a design. Having a bunch of paragraphs in the same alignment leads them to be perceived as one part of an article and not different bits of text thrown together. This makes it look organised and cleanly positioned. Multiple alignments on the design would require more effort to create as well as perceive a connection.
As limiting as adding grids to the design may feel, it offers a solid foundation to align website elements onto a single grid. For example:
Notice how by following a simple three column grid turns the page full of content into a neatly designed easily perceivable well aligned page that feels unified?
Proximity is simply how close elements are to each other. Creating a sense of unity with proximity is advantageous because grouping elements together communicates that all these elements belong together in the same box.
For example, just look down at the keys of your keyboard. You’ll notice that you have a group of keys clustered together that serve a similar function. By grouping these keys that are related to each other, we can ease and enhance the user experience.
As we come to apply this to website design, it is not too different. The closer the elements are placed, the stronger the relationship is between them that gives a sense of unity. Let’s understand this with an example:
Unity gives a sense of connectedness and togetherness to website elements. To achieve this style, designers should consider looking at the design as a whole. While using the product, consumers tend to instantly link the commodity and webpage colour scheme that facilitates unity. By repeating the style, typography, colour and other elements throughout the page and making it look identical forms connection and facilitates unity.
By visually uniting the elements of a webpage, the design gets more understandable and perceivable. This visual unity can be created by aligning the website elements. Additionally, designers could also group elements together and near each other in proximity to establish unity. Taking a comprehensive approach helps to create a user-specific website, maintain the unity of style and make it look truly integral and professional.
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