Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Principle of Proximity

Proximity is one of the four basic principles from “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams (2004).
Proximity principle implies that “items relating to each other should be grouped close together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. This helps organize information, reduce clutter, and gives the reader a clear structure."

Take a look at this card.

How many separate elements do you see in that small space? How many times does your eye stop to look at something?

There are five separate items in this card, and your eye stops probably five times. You begin reading in the middle (since this is the largest text on the card) and continue reading from left to right (because it is English). When you get to bottom-right corner, you probably wander around to make sure you didn’t miss any information.

A problem with this card is that “not one of the items on the card seems related to any other item. It is not clear where you should begin reading the card, and it is not clear when you are finished."

Now, take look at another card.

This card has information grouped into "closer proximity" and organized "both intellectually and visually.”

Take a moment to decide how this list can be improved.

I will continue tomorrow...

1 comment:

Christy Tucker said...

Hey! I guessed correctly! Plus I see that I can comment using my Wordpress address now--thanks for changing the settings. I was hoping this was just a settings issue and not some crazy thing Google was doing now that they took over Blogger.

On to the next exercise--the list should be grouped into smaller chunks, with multiple levels. This list has a lot more than 7 +/- 2 items. It looks like you should have 3 categories: programming, web design, and 3D.

It should be something like this:
* VB
* C++
* Java