Using Design Clichs

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Web 2.0 is the new black, rounded corners are the new complimentary accessory, drop shadows are a part of the status quo, and you’d better not wear a bevel before Labor Day.

Unlike real-life, looking good online is simple: keep the page layout clean using only a few columns, sprinkle some pictures around and follow a few design clichs. That’s right, think inside the box. Find common elements around the web and emulate them. Be trendy. The more familiar a page feels, the happier the user is going to be.

Common design clichs include:

Look around the web! Just about every blog, portal, online brochure, portfolio, and user interface now uses one or more of these clichs-even Google (drop shadow on their logo). The jelly/glassy button effect gets my vote for the most over-used web trend of the new millennium.

Employing one or more of these clichs is all it takes to give your users that warm, fuzzy feeling. Couple these with a simplistic layout and your website’s design will be very, very well received by just about everyone.

Why? Where do these clichs come from? The simple answer is that we all have operating systems that employ these effects and we’ve gotten comfortable with them. Mac users, for example, expect buttons to look like Mrs. Butterworths got a blueberry infection and sneezed Smuckers onto the page (jelly button). The not-so-simple answer is that as creatures of habit (humans) we’d like to use an interface designed to emulate real-life-simulating texture and depth using only two dimensions.

Bottom line: don’t abandon creativity completely, just contain it a bit when you’re designing for the web and don’t be scared to follow convention. Remember that someone has to create these clichs in the first place, just be careful.

Oneupweb is the only two-time winner of the ClickZ award for “Best Search Engine Engine Marketing Firm”. StraightUpSearchs blog authors include experts from Oneupwebs natural SEO, pay-per-click campaign management, research, marketing, design, and sales departments.

Using Design Clichs
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