Information Technology

What Is the Law of Proximity & Why Does it Matter in UX Design?

Web Design

A successful product launch starts with the inception phase – aka the product design. However, product design is a concept that requires the involvement of a team of professional UX designers and collaboration between departments.  

Usually, this means you have to hire your own UX design team or train current employees in product design and hope for the best. Still, both options involve a lot of time and financial investments, which is why many small and medium-sized businesses prefer to use the services of a specialized UX design agency like Clay.Global. This saves both time and money and offers access to highly-trained specialists who have experience working with similar products or in similar scenarios. 

But if you want to understand how UX design works and make an idea of what it takes to create something from scratch, you need to start from the basics. For instance, designers tend to dedicate a lot of time and brainpower to the position of all the design elements. 

And one principle that helps you understand how this works is the law of proximity. Moving forward, we’ll tell you what it is and what you need to know about it.

What Is The Law Of Proximity?

In Gestalt psychology, the Law of Proximity describes the perceived relationship between closely grouped objects, as opposed to objects placed further away – even if the closely grouped objects have differing sizes, shapes, and colours.

In layman’s terms, the human eye interprets closely grouped objects as being more relevant to each other, rather than distant objects. In UX design, this is an important consideration for designers, as they must consider what objects users will find meaningful, and what objects may appear redundant or irrelevant.

This is only a simple explanation of the theory in practice, but you can read a more thorough explanation with use cases.

How Can You Use The Law Of Proximity In UX Design?

Anyone can use the law of proximity in UX design! Overall, you just have to know how to place related design elements close to each other, while elements that aren’t related, need to stay away from one another. 

To separate unrelated elements, you can use white space – this is the area in-between elements and can be anything from colour, pattern, or texture (not just literal white space).

Why Do I Have to Know About the Law of Proximity?

The human brain likes patterns and order, which is why this law makes sense without even thinking about it. When you organize your design elements, it makes everything look appealing and intuitive.

And the cool thing is that you’re most likely already using this law in everyday life without even noticing it! In fact, here are a few everyday design items created based on the law of proximity:

  • Forms – forms should not be intimidating. If a record is long and complicated looking, people will not want to complete them. 
  • Lists –  items in lists need to be separated and easy to read. If they are all together, it will be difficult to understand what is displayed. White space is a great way to make lists more readable and look appealing.
  • Menus (software and web navigation) – menus need to be easy to use, appealing, and straightforward. The space between menu items helps make them readable and clear to everyone who sees them.
  • Product Pages – in successful product pages, all the data is spaced out and white space is used in abundance to ensure the page does not look cluttered. Plus, all the information about one product is placed together and separated from the other products to make it clear the information is related to that product.

Wrap Up

While there will always be new business trends to focus on, you have to pay attention to the classics as well. And the law of proximity is definitely one of the good old ones! The positioning of design elements to design attractive products is an essential part of visual design, and this principle is used by UI UX design firms worldwide. 

People want to see information and scan the page to find what they need, and white space can help them do that.

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