Everything we design and create should be full of meaning and intent.
Elemental, My Dear Watson
As we start thinking through the different design elements that are utilized in creating a website, we need to keep in mind that the different types of elements convey different actions and meanings to our users. A button conveys to a user that a form submission or user-related transaction is about to take place. A tag conveys that specific terminology is associated with a product, page, or post. A link conveys that clicking through will lead to a new page. The list of elements can go on and on. For every element, there should be a distinct visual style associated with each one.
A Button is a Button is a Button
Let’s say you’re working on designing a button style that carries through to different areas of an ecommerce site. The general button styles should convey to the user immediately through color, shape, typography, and placement that the button is indeed a button.
Once said button style has been established, take care not to design other elements in a manner that might make them look like buttons.
For instance, if you have your button styles created, and are working on a system for tagging products on your ecommerce site, then take special care to avoid the size and shape used on the buttons. If your tags start to look like they’re clickable to your user, you may begin to frustrate and confuse your customer.
Size Matters - And Shape - And Color
As we move forward with the design of elements for all diffferent types of websites, let’s work to try and eliminate confusion for our users and customers. One of the best ways to provide clarity is to intentionally design each type of element to be unique and recognizable. Web-designer Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben might say, “With great meaning and intentional consistency in visual representation of elements comes great design.”