Back To Nature

One of the most common patterns in web page design is the use of nature. The employment of nature-themed elements has many uses and purposes. Perhaps the most common is to set a relaxing and reassuring mood or atmosphere for the site.

One of the biggest pitfalls designers run into is to get obsessed with the visuals and forget all about userbility. The key is to leverage the visual appeal of nature while maintaining a tight web focus. For example, just because you feature leaves in your design doesn't mean every last button or navigation has to become a leaf!

A related problem is the creation of interfaces for the sole purpose of bringing the theme to life. This approach almost always leads to heavy use of Flash and again usability is often left behind. I'd encourage you instead to balance the undeniable aesthetic appeal of natural elements with a heavy dose of restraint and usability.

While I'm on a rant, I'll throw in one more prickly point. Please, oh please leave out the lame stock photos - especially the ones of hands holding dirt with a little plant growing out of it. 'Lame' and 'over-used' are words that spring to mind.

 
 

Thanks To:

Practical Web Design - October 2010 Issue 207 & Patrick McNeil
Patrick McNeil is a freelance web designer, developer and writer. His website www.designmeltdown.com reviews various patterns and trends in contemporary online design.