Visual Design and Usability

Design is an art that involves the use of form to express an idea or desire, and it is used mainly in interaction or design for beauty or novelty. A design is really just a blueprint or specifications for the construction of something, an object or machine, or even the end result of such a blueprint or specification in the shape of some finished product, machine or process. The word ‘design’ actually derives from the Latin ‘de’ design, ‘design’ meaning to shape or form. So design literally means ‘to shape’. The verb to design also expresses the process of making a design.


The word ‘visibility’ in web design has two meanings. In the first sense it refers to the visibility of the content on a website. For example, if a website contained a large image then the visible part of this image would be the center of the webpage, while the portion of the page not visible to users would be the border around this image. In this sense of visibility ‘visibility’ refers to the ability of a user to interact with the website, but the meaning of ‘visibility’ is not the same when we come to the second meaning of visual design, which is the meaning of ease of use.

So in a nutshell visual and usability are two important design roles that all web designers should understand. In the next article I’ll go into more depth about designers and their skills. But for now I hope you’ve learnt enough to be able to define the basic visual design roles, and what they mean to the user and the designer who create them. Happy designing!