How Symmetry Affects your Website Design
Symmetry is the quality of being made up of exactly the same parts on either side. When it comes to medical website design, creating a website that is attractive depends heavily on how symmetrical it is. Symmetry can also best be described as balance. A balanced website design helps to make your website feel even tempered, comfortable, and familiar to visitors.
Imagine getting to a website and being totally thrown off because it just doesn’t look right. Shapes are inconsistent, things aren’t where they should be. It can be overwhelming and send your bounce rate through the roof. Visitors to your website want to know what they should expect. Anything that’s even remotely off is bound to throw them in a totally different direction than you would want them to go.
What are symmetry and asymmetry?
Symmetry takes three forms: reflection symmetry, rotational symmetry, and translational symmetry. The first, reflection symmetry, occurs when everything is reflected off of a central axis.
Rotational symmetry occurs when all elements rotates around a common axis and translational symmetry is the result of elements being repeated.
Asymmetrical elements lack the balance that symmetrical forms do. They tend to make people feel confused and uncomfortable. Typically the space around asymmetrical forms is active and an unpredictable pattern is created. While asymmetry is uncomfortable, it can actually be used for good when used in conjunction with symmetry.
What does balancing composition involve?
In website design for healthcare providers, balancing composition involves appropriately spacing and arranging positive elements and negative space. Each element of your website should work together to make it as attractive as possible.
When an element is out of balance it will appear overwhelming and totally overshadow the rest of the website. The best way to think about balancing composition is to think of a fine work of art. This work of art is made up of small elements, each one lending to the piece. Without one the artwork would feel off kilter. But with each piece in its right spot a beautiful masterpiece is created.
Using Space Wisely
When implementing space into your medical marketing strategy it’s important to understand how to view it. Space is more than just open areas on your website. Space works in your favor when you look at it as working in partnership with shapes on your website.
For example, let’s say your medical website design relies on a large hero image at the top of each page. This hero image takes up a certain amount of pixels. But what about the area below it?
Below you could just place text or you could arrange various images. Whether you choose text or images, you want to think about how those additional shapes will detract from the hero image situated above. Sometimes it’s wise to simply give the hero image the limelight and not detract from it. Other times it works to arrange images carefully below it.
What works best for you will depend on the purpose of that specific page and any goals associated with it.
Physical vs. Visual Balance
In the physical world, balance is easy to understand. Because if something is off balance the opposing object will shift or appear shifted. Visual balance works in a similar way. Visual weight is the perceived weight of a visual element. Essentially, it’s how much an element attracts attention. Visual direction is the direction in which the eye thinks an element is moving. For example, a picture of a woman moving forward will give the visual direction of forward movement.
The best tool to determine visual balance isn’t a special too; it’s your eyes. When you look at an image’s placement in website design for medical professionals ask yourself whether it makes you feel comfortable. Every part of a visually balanced composition will hold your attention.
Types of Balance
This type of balance occurs when equal weights are on equal sides of a composition. This type of balance tends to make someone feel formal or elegant. If you think of a wedding invitation you’ll have an image of formal/symmetrical balance. Because one-half mirrors the other half of a composition in symmetrical balance it’s comfortable for people to look at and predictable.
Asymmetrical balance results from an unequal amount of weight on both sides of a composition. Oftentimes one side of a composition has a more dominant element, while the other side is balanced by lesser focal points that are artfully arranged.
This type of balance is interesting and exciting and tends to remind visitors of modernism, energy, and movement. While it’s fun when achieved, it can take work to get just right.
When you think of radial balance, think of a bicycle wheel. Think of how all spokes come from the same center. This is the pinnacle of radial balance. Since everything comes from one center it tends to attract people.
Mosaic balance is best thought of as balanced chaos. This is because there is no exact focal point, however, all elements have a shared emphasis. While at first it can seem overwhelming, mosaic balance works well. It is not often used in medical website design because it tends to detract from the central message of most medical websites.
What type of balance is right for my website?
As a medical professional it’s important that you consider your audience when looking at web design. While it might seem fun to create a website that is over the top, patients looking for a professional to treat their illnesses don’t want that.
They want a website that makes them feel comfortable and at ease. They want to feel like they can navigate the website without frustration and truly understand whatever is being communicated to them.
When it comes to choosing the best symmetry for your website, think about everything, but most importantly consider your patient experience. When you put your patient first, you can rest assured that they will continue to come back to you for care and even refer people to you (using your website).