Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. To keep it simple, user experience describes how users perceive a website, what kind of emotions they have when visiting a website, and whether or not they are motivated enough to return. Of course web design is its own field of expertise and one could claim that only experienced designers are capable of designing a good website and therefore provide the basis for high user experiences. Gestalt Laws find their origin in psychology and were first introduced in the twentieth century. The aim of this article is to give an overview of common Gestalt Laws, explain their possible effects, and present examples of how exactly different laws work in the context of a website. The Law of Proximity indicates that elements that are near to each other tend to be perceived as a single unit.
The Law of Closure explains why elements are recognized even if they are incomplete or nonexistent. The Law of Good Continuation can be applied to both the design aspect as well as the content aspect of elements. The Law of Figure and Ground describes how we rather perceive a figure than the background which flows around it.
Another reason that leads to this figure-ground assumption is that in case there is a border line between both objects, it is more likely interpreted to belong to the figure rather than the background. The Law of Simplicity indicates that elements are always perceived in the most easiest way possible.
Of course a website can never be completely symmetric, which is not at all the idea, but it is possible to pay attention to the perceived symmetry. There is a whole list of different Gestalt Laws, even more than we discussed in this article. Also, you can specifically test whether or not you applied certain Gestalt Laws successfully. The term user experience seems to be a popular trend recently, but how can we describe user experience and how can we make sure to offer enough of it on our websites?


Gestalt Laws can help to create for example structure and a sense of togetherness on a website, they give suggestions on how to draw attention to elements that are important or how to create an impression of balance and stability.
Gestalt Laws can seem quite simple, but their effects can have a big impact on a website’s user experience.
This is due to our previous experiences and prior knowledge about possible shapes and figures, thus mentally we can supplement missing parts of an element. Eyes can easily and naturally follow elements that are arranged along a continuous line, those elements are therefore perceived as a unit. Symmetric objects or arrangements are associated with positive aspects such as stability, consistency and structure. So symmetry does not necessarily have to be created by content, but also by aesthetic elements such as color or design. It explains that we can expect others to use their prior knowledge in order to understand certain elements. Some Gestalt Laws are unique, others overlap each other, some are more useful for designing a website, others less, some might be easy to apply, others more complicated. Gestalt laws are basically regularities about how elements are perceived and organized into an unified whole. The following Gestalt Laws will be addressed in this article: the Law of Proximity, the Law of Similarity, the Law of Closure, the Law of Good Continuation, the Law of Figure and Ground, the Law of Simplicity, the Law of Symmetry, and last but not least the Law of Experience. Further, elements that follow each other either logically or temporal, are perceived as unit as well. First of all, a defined figure has a more salient appearance whereas a background does not stand out. Only the logos are perceived, not the shapes that result from placing the logo on the colored background. Asymmetric arrangements on the other hand give a rather negative impression, like something is wrong, missing, or out of balance. For example, the head of the BBC website uses an abstract picture of a globe in the background to create a harmonious and balanced appearance.


But in general, we can conclude that Gestalt Laws do give some good advice, such as how to group elements that belong together, how to point the attention to elements that are important, or how to create an impression of balance and stability.
After working with Gestalt Laws for a while, you will see that they become internalized and that you will start to apply them naturally. Or if they think that your website’s overall design appears to be harmonically or chaotic? You can easily group the pieces of one category by placing them closer to each other than the distance between the two categories.
There is a white background with round corners that runs out towards the bottom of the page.
Furthermore, if one object is placed on top of another, in this case, a figure is placed on a background, the impression of depth emerges and therefore the figure actually appears to lie on top of the background. For example sometimes we overlook a spelling mistake because we have memorized a word as a whole and do not look at every letter within the word specifically.
Figure 2 shows how this Gestalt Law is used on the UX Booth website to group elements that belong together.
In Figure 3 you can see how CNN uses this Gestalt Law to present different topics within one news category as a unit.
Still, we do not perceive elements at the bottom of the page as falling apart, but we can imagine the content area continues. We tried to keep our website as simple and clean as possible, so we can focus on what we really want to communicate.
You can easily test your design and find answers to these questions – even in the conceptual stage. Different distances between the elements give us the impression of three columns, of which each contains one teaser per article.



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