Day# 147: Lets get Gestalt-ing in here

Day# 147: Lets get Gestalt-ing in here

So Gestalt, what is the foreign word that plagues a lot UX and design theory based articles. If you haven’t had a pony tailed gentleman with a beard and a checkered shirt explain Gestalt theory to you in a bar then you my friend are not living. On a serious note though, I tend to also talking about principles and theories behind good UX. It brings me so much satisfaction to not have to deal with the whimsical airy fairy wants on graphic design based projects. I have had marketers tell me that they “are just not feeling my design” more times than I would like and it leaves you as the designer feeling confused having to go back to your desk to consult your crystal ball of wisdom on how to read your clients feedback in a productive manner. Let’s face it design does have principles that make good design and all the Gestalt principles can be reiterated to create seamless design but the outcome is not often tested and understood for its differences.


In UX however Gestalt is practised, referred to and implemented across a number of projects. From Web, to Apps and even to UX game (my absolute favourite industry, if you know anything about me know that!) Gestalt was a series of principles recognized which assisted to create patterns in the human brain. Basically they used our evolutionary abilities to understand how to display content to us in a more productive and profound manner, see below for my brief and I mean BRIEF description of the various principles that make up Gestalt theory.


Principle of similarity

This means when you see something that looks similar you make the association that those have grouping methodology. This can relate to shape, colour, size etc. This can be understood as how we form an understanding for a certain object to mean something and be similar to other objects that look the same


Law of closure

This is how we use an unfinished display of visual communication to come to a conclusion of something that the visual looks similar to. A good example would be the negative space illustrations and movement in general, it is also very easy for us as humans to see human body part like faces and bodies in visuals we look at. This is because this what we associate with most. When you are a baby your parents face is the first thing you see, and through our lives we are social animals by definition so the way we form objects is from our past experiences and knowledge of objects


Law of proximity

This is as simple as it sounds, it relates to the proximity of objects have to one another. Once certain objects are closer together we immediately assume they are related to eachother in some way





Using these principles in your work, will result in the project to be easier to understand for the user and give you the baseline structure of how to organise content. In the future I will do another post with examples of each category and how these principles and laws assist in the UX process

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