While there’s no denying that a well designed all-singing, all-dancing website is a fantastic marketing tool, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. As web designers in Kingston and the surrounding areas (Twickenham, Richmond, and Teddington to name a few), we’ve worked on a huge range of sites for businesses across all industries (see a few of them here). And the one thing we tell every client is that the little details matter. 

Microinteractions are where the magic happens. Whether its that satisfying snap of the screen when you drag down to refresh your feed, or the subtle bounce of a button as you click it, these tiny touches might seem trivial at first glance, but they make a big impact on users’ overall experience.

In fact, we consider microinteractions the unsung heroes of UX (user experience) design. They sit softly in the shadows, ready to make digital interactions feel more human and engaging. They turn mundane tasks into moments of connection between the user and the technology. Here’s everything you need to know about using microinteractions on your own website.

web design richmond

1. The Role of Microinteractions in UX Design

Grabbing hold of attention is the ultimate aim of any website, whether you’re service-based, product-focused, or somewhere in between. Microinteractions can help make visitors take notice with tiny, purpose-driven moments. They’re the digital equivalent of a helpful nudge, guiding users through your site and toward the outcome you’re aiming for.

Not only are microinteractions subtle guide posts, but they also enhance the user experience by making technology more intuitive and interactive. From a button that changes colour when you hover over it to a progress bar that visualises your download, microinteraction can inform users what’s happening, what to do next, or simply entertains them for a moment or two.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Hover effects
    When you move your cursor over a menu item, and it changes colour or illuminates, it’s not just for show – it’s a microinteraction signalling where you are and what you can do.
  • Button animations
    Have you ever noticed how some buttons seem to press down when you click them? That’s a microinteraction that provides feedback on your action, making the digital environment feel more tangible.
  • Progress bars
    Progress bars provide visual confirmation that something is loading and give a sense of time, making the wait less abstract and site visitors more likely to stick around.
  • Swipe actions
    Swiping items off a list or flicking through a photo gallery mimics the way we do things in real life, making it an intuitive way to navigate a website.

Microinteractions guide and reassure users by mirroring interactions from the “real world”, making our digital encounters more user-friendly. By focusing on these moments, designers can create a website that is beautiful, responsive, and genuinely interactive.

web design agency twickenham

2. The Psychology Behind Microinteractions

Microinteractions are the secret ingredient to making your website both functional and fun to use. They give users instant gratification, aiming for that sweet spot between expectation and surprise. Here’s the psychology of how it all works:

  • Fine-tuning expectations
    We all like a bit of predictability in our lives. When we click, swipe, or hover, we expect something to happen. Microinteractions fulfil these expectations by making sure there’s a response to our actions.
  • Sparking engagement
    Have you ever noticed how some buttons seem to press down when you click them? That’s a micrBecause microinteractions still aren’t used widely amongst web designers, they have the novelty to turn “I’m just browsing” into “Oh, what’s this?” moments. By keeping users intrigued and interacting with your content, they’re more likely to stick around longer.
  • Boosting the feel-good factor
    For every responsive website, there are half a dozen that are bland, boring and uninspired. So, when a visitor finds your site, all those small moments add up to create an overall experience that feels more thoughtful and personalised. It’s the difference between a cold, empty room and one that has a warm, welcoming energy.

3. Designing Effective Microinteractions

Designing microinteractions that make users smile and keep coming back for more isn’t just about throwing in some cool animations. There are a few golden rules that ensure these tiny moments are not only slick to look at but super useful, too.

Principles for Meaningful Microinteractions

  • Keep it real
    very microinteraction should earn its keep. Whether it’s a nod for completing a desired action (like a form submission) or a guiding hand (like showing a user where to go next), it’s got to serve a purpose.
  • Less is more
    The magic of a great microinteraction is that it feels like second nature. If it starts feeling like a puzzle, it’s probably too complicated.
  • Instant feedback
    There’s something satisfying about immediate reactions to our actions online. Microinteractions should be timely, letting users know, “Yep, that worked!” or “Oops, try this instead.”
  • Blend in
    Overall, microinteractions are just that, micro. They should blend into your site, being a part of the choir, not a headline act.

Making Microinteractions Happen: Idea to Launch

The path from “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” to “Wow, that’s such a neat feature!” starts with spotting the moments where a microinteraction could make a user’s life easier (or even just a bit more fun). Once you’ve found the opportunity, it’s time to get those ideas down and map out how this feature will fit into the bigger picture.

Bringing these ideas to life usually means getting hands-on with prototypes. This is where tools like Adobe XD and Figma come into their own, as they let you play around and see what works best in real-time. After all, prototyping is all about trial, error, and lots of tweaking. After some testing and making sure everything looks good across devices, it’s time for your microinteraction to make its debut. 

Following these steps and keeping the golden rules in mind is how you build microinteractions that look great without stealing the show and detracting from your overall website goals.

web design company Kingston

4. A Real Example of Microinteractions in Action

When the team at Gather & Gather came to us, their brief was to engage with visitors in a warm, welcoming way that reflected how they treat their clients. This was a fantastic opportunity to turn fun, food, and connection into a digital design that represented the brand. For a project like this, microinteractions were a great way to add interaction and bring the brand to life.

Adding Personality Through Pictures

One of the first features you’ll see when visiting the Gather & Gather website are text animations. As visitors scroll down the page, the text slides into view, grabbing your attention and encouraging you to keep scrolling. 

However, it was the icons on the website that were the metaphorical cherry on the cake. Instead of static icons, we  infused each one with life. From a logo playfully spinning in place to steam gently rising from a hot mug of coffee—these microinteractions pepper the Gather & Gather website, adding fun and interest. 

The small design elements we used throughout the Gather & Gather website made a great contribution to the overall user experience (UX), resulting in a site that feels alive and interactive. Each microinteraction was designed to enhance rather than detract from the user experience. These tiny moments of engagement helped us capture the ethos Gather & Gather stands for.

5. Best Practices for Implementing Microinteractions

Adding microinteractions to a web design is like seasoning a meal; just the right amount makes it better, but overdo it, and it ruins the dish. Here’s how to make sure your microinteractions complement rather than clutter your website.

Integrating Without Overwhelming

  • Clarity comes first – Stick with microinteractions that make things clearer for your users. If it’s not helping them get where they need to go or what they need to know, it might not be necessary.
  • Space them out –  Too many animations can make your site feel busy and overwhelming. Use them sparingly, focusing on moments where they add value.
  • Usability over looks – Sure, that hover effect looks cool, but if it’s making things harder for your visitors, it’s not doing its job. Keep user experience front and centre.

Testing and Refining

  • Watch real users – Seeing how actual people interact with your site can open your eyes to how your microinteractions perform in the wild. Look for areas where they enhance the experience and where they might be falling flat.
  • Try, then try again – Don’t be afraid to tweak and test different approaches. A/B testing can be your best friend, helping you find what works best for engagement and satisfaction.

6. Upgrade Your Website with Microinteractions

Microinteractions might be small, but the impact they have on web design is anything but. These tiny touches make a big difference to user experience, turning dull moments into something a little more interesting. 
Want to bring some energy to your website? As expert web designers in Kingston, we specialise in building websites with UX design at their heart. Contact us today and let’s create something your customers, clients or community will love.

Further Reading and Resources

If you’re a designer wanting to learn more about integrating microinteractions into your websites, we highly recommend the reading materials below.

Every website has a story to tell, but how that story is presented makes the difference as to whether your readers want to hear the ending. If your website is a storefront, what draws people in isn’t just your product, it’s the window display. After all, we humans are visual creatures. That’s where typography, texture and tone come into play, shaping your online presence’s look, feel, and voice.

Typography influences a website’s attractiveness and readability through the appearance and arrangement of words. Then there’s texture, which might seem like a bit of an abstract concept at first when we’re talking about a 2D website. But the texture is the visual depth and interest that keep viewers engaged and moving through your content. And we can’t forget the tone of voice, the personality, and the style of your writing, which can turn visitors into loyal followers.

As web designers, typography, texture and tone are our bread and butter, but we understand that it’s not always straightforward for our clients, which is why we created this blog. Here, we’ll shed light on these concepts, breaking them down into why they matter and how you can use them to your advantage.

Whether you’re a small business owner looking to revamp your website or a budding designer eager for tips, you’re in the right place.

typography web design richmond

1. The Power of Typography in Web Design

Typography isn’t just about picking pretty fonts; it’s a foundational element of web design that helps to shape user experience. The right typography choices can improve your site’s readability and overall feel, ensuring your message hits home with your audience. 

Understanding Typography 

Typography is a collection of decisions about the way your text looks, aimed at making your content not just readable but visually appealing. It’s about choosing the right font and creating a hierarchy that guides the reader’s eye and structures your information. Think of it as the dress code for your words.

In web design, typography can grab attention, influence emotions, and, yes, even affect how long someone stays on your page. Poor typography choices can make content hard to digest, while smart ones can boost readability and encourage engagement. Essentially, good typography keeps visitors reading and interacting with your site, turning a quick glance into a deeper engagement. It’s the silent conversation between your website and its visitors, speaking volumes without saying a word.

Choosing the Right Typeface

If typography is the dress code for your words, choosing your typeface is picking out the perfect outfit. But remember, it’s not a beauty pageant you’re dressing for; it’s an everyday outfit you’ll be wearing day after day. 

When choosing your typeface (or font), it’s not just about what looks good; it’s about what fits the personality of your brand and evokes the right emotions in your audience without detracting from the readability of your web content. Readability is key. Always. A beautiful font that’s hard to read won’t do your website any favours. 

Lastly, think about the emotional impact. Fonts have their own vibe — serious, playful, sophisticated. Choosing a typeface that matches the mood you want to convey can subtly influence how visitors feel about your content and, by extension, your brand. It’s these thoughtful details that turn a good website into a great one. What’s In a Font?

What’s In a Font?

It’s all well and good saying that a font gives a “vibe”, but what do we mean by that exactly? Here are a few great examples of fonts that convey a mood or feeling and brands that are using them well. 


Fonts: Roboto, Arial, Helvetica

  • Roboto is known for its clarity and modern simplicity, making it a favourite for tech companies and startups. Google uses it across many of its platforms for its legibility and neutral appearance.
  • Arial and Helvetica are classic choices that speak to reliability and professionalism. Microsoft and BMW, respectively, leverage these fonts to convey a sense of trustworthiness and efficiency.


Fonts: Playfair Display, Garamond, Times New Roman

  • Playfair Display is a serif font with high contrast and a distinctive style that is perfect for luxury brands. Vogue magazine’s logo exudes elegance and high fashion with this type of stylised serif font.
  • Garamond’s timeless appeal is embraced by companies like Apple for its elegant typography in certain contexts, highlighting sophistication.
  • Times New Roman, a classic choice, has been used by The Times of London, lending an air of tradition and formality.


Fonts: Lobster, Pacifico, Papyrus

  • Lobster offers a playful yet refined vibe, great for creative businesses or casual branding. Etsy has used whimsical, handcrafted fonts similar to Lobster for special campaigns.
  • Pacifico is a fun, script font that captures a laid-back, adventurous spirit. It is often used in branding for travel blogs and lifestyle brands.
  • Papyrus is known for its rustic, hand-written appearance. While it’s a controversial choice, it famously appeared in the logo for James Cameron’s Avatar, aiming for an exotic, otherworldly feel.


Fonts: Futura, Montserrat, Open Sans

  • Futura is a geometric sans-serif font that embodies forward-thinking and modernity. Brands like Supreme and Volkswagen use Futura to signal a modern, minimalist aesthetic.
  • Montserrat offers a clean, contemporary look that is popular among web and graphic designers for its versatility. Spotify uses fonts with a similar geometric sans-serif style for its clean and approachable look.
  • Open Sans is favoured for its readability and modern simplicity, making it a go-to choice for digital platforms. Google uses Open Sans for its clean, friendly web presence.

These themes and font examples show how brands can use typography to influence perception and design aesthetics, aligning a brand’s visual identity with its values and personality.

Typography Best Practices 

When it comes to choosing typography for your site, it’s easy to get carried away. Mixing and matching fonts can add contrast to your site, but it’s a delicate dance. Stick to two or three fonts at most—a headline, body text, and perhaps an accent font—to keep things harmonious.

Hierarchy is your next tool. By varying font size, weight, and colour, you can guide your visitors’ eyes to the most important parts of your content. This helps readers understand where to start and what to focus on.

Finally, responsive design ensures your typography looks sharp on any device. Fonts that are legible on a desktop might become unreadable on a mobile screen. Testing across devices and incorporating flexible, scalable units for font sizes (like ems or rems) ensures your message stays clear, no matter where it’s viewed.

2. Adding Depth and Dimension with Texture

At the risk of doing the clothing analogy to death, texture in web design is akin to picking the right fabric for an outfit. Yes, it has to look the part, but it also has to have the right “feel”. Though users can’t physically touch it, adding texture can create depth and warmth, making your website more inviting and visually engaging.

A smooth, sleek texture might convey a modern, minimalist look, while a grainy texture could suggest something more organic or traditional. This visual tool is key in setting the mood of your website, drawing in visitors without them likely being consciously aware of those subtle details.

By weaving texture into your web design, you create experiences that are both seen and felt, giving your content a backdrop that enhances without overwhelming. 

Understanding Textures: Layers, Gradients, and Backgrounds

Want to use texture on your own website to add depth or add a little je ne sais quoi? Here are a few great ways to do it.

  • Layers create a sense of depth by stacking various elements, such as text over images or icons over textured backgrounds. The key here, as always, is moderation; too many layers can clutter your design and confuse your visitors.
  • Gradients are versatile tools, capable of adding dimension and energy to your design. They can be used to draw attention to specific areas or to soften the transition between different sections of your site. 
  • Background textures offer a foundation for your content, setting the mood of your website. Whether it’s a subtle paper grain effect for a minimalist look or a more pronounced pattern for vibrancy, the right texture can make your website stand out. 

Inspiring Examples of Texture in Web Design

Texture is often used to such great effect that you don’t even notice it. Off the top of your head, can you think of a website that utilises texture well? If not, here are a few examples to take a look at. 

  • Apple’s website uses a wide range of texture features for its product pages, especially in showcasing devices like the MacBook or iPhone. From gradients and reflections to shadow and beveling, they manage to make a static website feel immersive without overwhelming the site’s clean, navigable layout.
  • The agricultural investment group RipePlanet is another example of texture that is done well. The background colour has been paired with a terrain topography style overlay that leans into the brand’s focus on land-based opportunities. Without this small detail, it simply wouldn’t have the same feel. 
  • From our own case studies, take a look at this website we designed for Octagon Property Services Group. With enough focus elements already on the page, we used a subtle lighter shade in an abstract shape behind core sections, drawing the eye from one zone to the next. Choosing a lighter colour than the background also created more contrast, making the writing easier to read.

These examples demonstrate how textures can be used to add interest without compromising usability, proving that thoughtful design can achieve both beauty and function.

Balancing Visual Interest with Usability 

We may have already touched on this throughout the article, but it bears repeating – it’s crucial to balance visual interest with usability in web design. As we discussed in A Complete Guide to Website Accessibility, all websites should be designed to make them usable by as many people as possible. While an attractive site draws users in, if it’s not easy to navigate, they won’t stay long.

The challenge lies in creating a design that’s both captivating and functional. Visual interest, be it texture, typography or colour, should guide users rather than distract them. Aim to maintain a clean layout where content is easily accessible, and navigation is intuitive.

Striking the right balance ensures that users not only enjoy visiting your site but can also effortlessly interact with it, achieving their goals without frustration. Because once you’ve lost them, you’re unlikely to get them back. 

Dimension with Texture, web design twickenham

3. Conveying Brand Personality Through Tone of Voice

The tone of voice you use in your web content shapes how your audience perceives and interacts with your brand. The personality behind your words directly influences user experience by setting expectations: a friendly, conversational tone can make users feel at ease, while a more formal tone will establish credibility and trust.

Ultimately, the tone of voice not only impacts how users feel about your content but also how they perceive the overall brand, affecting their decision to return or take action. For this reason, you can’t afford to start typing without thinking about a wider strategy. What message do you want to convey about your business? What is your digital personality? Once you’ve established a baseline, you can make sure all content is written in your chosen tone, ensuring consistent content across all your channels. 

Practical Tips for Establishing a Consistent Tone

Being consistent online is tricky at the best of times, let alone when it comes to writing. Here are a few top tips for keeping your brand’s tone in tune:

Know Your Audience

Tailor your tone to match your audience. Are they professional and straight-laced or more laid-back and casual? Speaking their language keeps them listening.

Create a Style Guide

Cement your thoughts into a guide that lays down the rules for how your brand communicates, including word choice, grammar, and punctuation preferences. 

Train Your Team

Make sure everyone who creates content for your brand sings from the same song sheet (or Style Guide, in this case). Regular workshops or sharing standout examples can help.

Review and Revise

Consistency doesn’t mean being static. Regularly review your content to ensure it still hits the sweet spot with your audience.

By following these beats, you’ll ensure your brand’s message stays clear and consistent across all platforms, no matter who is at the helm. 

4. Source London, Web Design Twickenham

Typography, texture, and tone are the trio that turns your website from a flaccid flat page into an engaging online experience. With more and more businesses relying on their website as a core part of their marketing strategy, these three elements really can’t be an afterthought.

Wondering if your site’s design is hitting the right notes? Source London is here to help fine-tune your web presence. Get in touch for guidance on designing a website that does your business justice.

We’re living in the future. Artificial intelligence is making waves. We can order groceries from our phones. The big wide world has never been more accessible. Right? Well, yes and no. Large sections of our communities still don’t have access to the same wealth of information as most of us do.

Website accessibility isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about breaking down barriers so that everyone, including those with disabilities, gets a fair chance to explore, understand, and interact online. In the same way that a ramp can make a huge difference to someone in a wheelchair, making a website more accessible opens a digital door that would otherwise remain shut to someone with visual, auditory, or physical challenges.

This guide won’t be a list of do’s and don’ts. We’ll be giving you the how and the why behind making your website accessible to everyone. We’re covering the essentials, from picking colour contrasts that don’t leave anyone out to ensuring your site can be navigated with a keyboard. Our aim? To show you that making your site more accessible isn’t just about compliance; it’s about making the web a more welcoming space together.

website accessibility graphic, web design richmond

1. Understanding Website Accessibility

Website accessibility means carefully considering how you set up your online space so everyone can find what they’re looking for, regardless of their abilities. Whether it’s someone using a screen reader because they can’t see your photos or video captions for those who can’t hear, small changes can make a big difference.

The internet promised us a world of information at our fingertips, but not everyone got the invite. Making sites accessible is our chance to fix that. Beyond being the right thing to do, accessible sites are also smarter business—they’re easier to use, better for search engines, and open your doors to a wider audience.

Legal and Ethical Considerations in the UK

When it comes to making websites more user-friendly, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are pretty much the gold standard. These guidelines lay the foundation for ensuring that websites can be enjoyed by people with disabilities.

We also have the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, which specify that services provided through websites need to be accessible to all.

So, not only is an accessible website a welcoming one, but it’s also compliant with all relevant equality and accessibility regulations.

2. Incorporating Visual Accessibility into Design

When it comes to designing your website, there’s a sweet spot between making it look good and ensuring it’s accessible. Visual accessibility is about tweaking and choosing elements that make your site both a treat for the eyes but also easy for people with visual impairments to navigate. Here’s a few tips for executing that brief.

In a previous article we explored how to Create a Mood for your Website with Colour Psychology, helping you choose colours that create the right atmosphere. But colour choices go beyond just style. While some colours may look great together, they may be more difficult to read for someone with vision impairment or colour blindness. Aim to strike the right balance between text and background colours for optimal contrast, ensuring that your content pops even for those with less visibility.

Colour Usage

Thankfully, you don’t need to eyeball it. Handy tools like the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker help you test your colour choices against WCAG guidelines to ensure you’re on track.

For colour-blind users, think beyond just colour. Adding patterns or textures to critical elements like buttons or charts can make a world of difference. Testing your design with tools like Coblis or Color Oracle will provide insight into how your site looks to those with colour vision deficiencies.

Font Types and Sizes

When choosing fonts for your site, look for options that are widely recognised for their readability—think Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman—and steer clear of overly stylised fonts that might look pretty but can be difficult to read.

Size matters, too. Ensure your text is large enough to read comfortably, but also make sure your website allows users to adjust text sizes themselves. This flexibility is a game-changer for visitors with visual impairments, making your content accessible to a broader audience.

Images and Alt Text

Every image on your website tells a part of your story, but only if everyone can see it. Alt text comes into play here, providing a textual alternative to visual content, which is incredibly helpful to users who rely on screen readers. Alt text is essentially a caption explaining what the image conveys.

Writing effective alt text means being descriptive yet concise. Think about how you’d explain the image to someone over the phone. Describe what’s essential, including the mood or action, without stuffing it with keywords in a way that feels unnatural. This practice not only makes your site more accessible but also improves the user experience.

3. Improving Usability of Interactive Elements

Making your website usable for as many people as possible means thinking beyond the mouse and the touchscreen. In this part of our guide, we’re focusing on enhancing usability through interactive elements. 

From navigating menus to filling out forms, a few small tweaks to your design can make a world of difference in making your site more accessible and user-friendly.

Keyboard Navigation

Not everyone uses a mouse to browse the web. For some, keyboard navigation is the only option for scrolling. Making sure your website can be fully navigated using just a keyboard is a big step towards inclusivity. This means ensuring that all interactive elements are reachable and usable with keyboard commands.

By creating a seamless flow that lets users tab through menus, links, and forms effortlessly, you can prevent them getting stuck or lost. Testing your site’s keyboard friendliness is easy and goes a long way in opening up your digital space to more users.

Making your site navigable via keyboard starts by having a logical structure. Your web designer can use semantic HTML5 elements to ensure natural flow and should test your site using only the tab, enter, and arrow keys.

Form Accessibility

From signing up for newsletters to making purchases, forms play an important role in helping users interact with your site. You can optimise the accessibility of your forms by clearly labelling each field so users know exactly what information goes where and adding straightforward error identification

If a user misses a field or inputs something incorrectly, make sure the feedback is immediate and helpful. This not only aids those using assistive technologies but improves the overall user experience, making form completion a breeze rather than a barrier.

Clickable Targets

Ever tried pressing a button on a website only to find it frustratingly unresponsive or too small to hit accurately? That’s a hurdle you can eliminate by making sure buttons, links, and other clickable targets are adequately sized and spaced apart. Adequate size and spacing reduce the chance of errors, making your website more navigable and enjoyable to use, especially for those with motor difficulties or anyone using a device with a touch screen.

To make clickable elements more accessible, increase button and link sizes beyond the minimum standard, ensuring they’re easy to tap on touch screens. Use CSS to adjust padding and margins, providing ample space around clickable items. If you’re curious to learn more about web development, you can learn more here.

4. Multimedia and Dynamic Content

Multimedia and dynamic content, like videos and animations, make your website feel more modern and keep visitors engaged. But not everyone gets to experience these features in the same way.

Imagine trying to enjoy a video without being able to hear it or feeling dizzy from a moving image on your screen. That’s the reality for some people. So, how do we make sure everyone can join in on the fun?

Captions and Transcripts for Videos

Captions and transcripts are the all-access-pass to videos for those with hearing impairments. But adding them to content isn’t just slapping text on the screen. You’ve got to make sure the captions are in sync with your video and that both are easy to read. There are plenty of tools out there, like automatic captioning features, that can help you start, but you’ll want to double-check for accuracy. It’s a bit of effort, but it goes a long way toward making everyone feel included.

Animation and Motion

As web designers, we’ll be the first to say that animations are cool. But for some people, they can literally be a headache. While a nifty animation has its place (and can provide a great first impression on your website), if your site has too much movement, it might not sit well with everyone. The trick is to dial it back for folks who need it. You can use simple settings to let users control whether they see all that motion or opt for a more static experience.

When you do use motion, keep it gentle. Flashy isn’t always better. And if you can, let people pause or skip animations. Using CSS tricks like ‘prefers-reduced-motion’, you can automatically adjust your site for users who have set their preferences for less motion, making sure your site is a comfortable space for everyone to browse.

5. Testing and Maintaining Accessibility 

Ensuring your website remains a welcoming place for everyone is an ongoing journey, not just a one-off task. It’s all about regularly testing and tweaking to keep up with both the evolving web standards and your content updates. Here are a few tips based on our experience as professional web designers in Richmond.

Testing for Accessibility

First off, you’ve got a toolkit of resources to help check how accessible your site is. Automated tools like WAVE, Axe, or Google Lighthouse can scan your pages and flag up issues, from missing alt texts to poor colour contrasts. While these tools are great for catching a wide range of potential issues, they don’t catch everything. That’s where manual testing comes in. This can be as simple as navigating your site using only a keyboard or running it through a screen reader to see how it holds up.

Another powerful method is user testing with people who have disabilities. This gives you direct insight into the real-world challenges users might face on your site and offers invaluable feedback on how to improve accessibility.

Keeping Accessibility on Track

Maintaining an accessible website means integrating accessibility checks into your regular site maintenance routine. Every time you update your site or add new content, take a moment to run through accessibility checks. Make accessibility a key consideration in your content creation process, whether that’s ensuring all new images have alt text or that all video content includes captions

Also, web standards and accessibility guidelines evolve over time, so staying informed about the latest developments is important. Regular training for your team or periodic consultations with accessibility experts can help keep your site in line with best practices.

Accessibility graphic, web design kingston

6. Make Your Website More Accessible Today 

In our discussion on website accessibility, we’ve covered quite the ground, from the basics of visual design and interactive elements to the nuances of multimedia content and the importance of regular testing. Each step of the way, we’ve seen how small changes can make a big difference in making the web a more inclusive space.

Remember, accessibility is a moving target, but with the right tools and a commitment to regular check-ins, you can keep your site accessible to as many people as possible, making sure everyone can benefit from what you have to offer.

For those looking for help navigating the complexities of website accessibility, our team is here to help. We offer expertise in building accessible websites from the ground up, ensuring your site is fit for purpose while representing your business at its best. Get in touch today, and let’s work together to create a digital world that’s open to all.

When you’re building a website, the colours you choose should do more than just look good. Colours are a powerful tool that can affect how people feel and what they decide to do on your site. That’s the essence of colour psychology in web design. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about using the right hues to connect with people on an emotional level.

If this sounds like pseudo-science, rest assured it’s backed by plenty of research. And at Source, we take the research seriously. We pick colours that not only match our clients’ branding but also set the right mood for their websites. Whether it’s making visitors feel welcome, excited, or relaxed, we use colour psychology to get the job done.

In this article, we’ll show you how this works with real examples from past projects, including a showstopping website for Chambord. We’ll share the process of choosing website colours and how staying true to brand guidelines doesn’t mean sacrificing creativity or emotional impact.

1. Understanding Colour Psychology

Colour psychology may sound complicated, but essentially, it boils down to how colours impact our emotions. This isn’t a new idea – in fact, it’s been around for centuries. One of the first essays on colour psychology was published in 1810 by German artist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

At its core is the concept that different colours can trigger different feelings. For example, blue represents calmness and reliability, which makes it a popular choice for brands that want to appear trustworthy – think PayPal, Visa, and LinkedIn. On the other hand, red symbolises playfulness, excitement or urgency, which is why it’s often used for call-to-action buttons and by lifestyle brands like Coca-Cola and Netflix.

In web design, we use colour to make a site visually appealing, but we also use it to encourage certain behaviours or create an atmosphere. But it’s not as easy as just picking a colour and calling it a day. We have to understand the nuance of how colours interact with each other. This allows designers to create spaces that align with a business’s identity and its goals.

Whether you want to entertain or inspire, create interest or credibility, the right colour palette makes all the difference.

2. How Colour Theory Impacts Your Website

As you may gather, colour isn’t just a decoration for designers; it’s a tool. And one of the ways we use that tool is in the form of a colour wheel. A colour wheel helps us to understand the relationship between different colours, so that whether we want to complement or contrast, we can narrow down the thousands of hues into a more manageable range.

The colour wheel is divided into three main categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. As you’ll likely remember from school, primary colours—red, blue, and yellow—are the base that all other colours are made from. They can’t be created by mixing other colours, which makes them the foundation of the colour spectrum. Secondary colours—green, orange, and purple—are created by combining the primary colours. For example, mix red and blue, and you get purple; blend blue and yellow for green, and combine red and yellow for orange.

Tertiary colours take this a step further by mixing a primary and a secondary colour to make an even more nuanced shade. With thousands of hues, designers can use a colour wheel to create any palette, from vibrant and energetic to soft and soothing.

colour wheel diagram from a web design company in richmond

3. Understanding Colour Harmony

Colour harmony isn’t just a fancy term in the designer’s handbook (otherwise, you’d find it in our handy Website Glossary)—it’s the secret ingredient that makes a website feel chef’s kiss. Colour harmony is the art of making colours play nicely together so your site looks and feels cohesive instead of chaotic. It’s all about balance, and we find that balance by using the aforementioned colour wheel in a number of different ways.

Contrasting (Complementary) Scheme

Colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel, like blue and orange or purple and yellow, look great together. They’re bold, bright, and demand attention. Perfect for when you want to make a statement or highlight key actions on your site.

Analogous Scheme

Colours that are neighbours on the colour wheel, like blues and greens, also make a great pair. This setup is less about standing out and more about blending in, creating a cohesive palette that’s calm and collected. It’s the go-to for sites aiming for harmony over drama.

Monochromatic Scheme

Monochrome doesn’t have to mean shades of grey. Think of an ombre effect, like a gradient from light blue to deep navy. This scheme is sleek, clean, and elegant, making everything feel more put together. It’s a classic choice for a sophisticated look that’s easy on the eyes.

Getting colour harmony right means you create an environment that feels welcoming and intuitive. Whether we’re going for excitement, calm, or sophistication, understanding these colour schemes helps us dial in the exact mood we’re aiming for.

4. Emotional Impact and Colour Schemes

Once we’ve determined whether we’re aiming for a bold pop of contrasting colours or a more cohesive monochromatic look, we can start selecting individual colours. As website designers, we usually don’t start with a blank canvas, as you’ll likely already have a logo in place, which we use to influence our choices. We’ll discuss that in further detail later, but for now, let’s explore how different colours are used to influence emotion.

Red – The Energiser

Red is the colour of energy, passion, and action. It’s a strong colour choice that can add a sense of urgency or excitement. While it’s often too bold a choice for most websites, it can be used in the right spots, like call-to-action buttons or important announcements to grab attention and encourage action. But as any web designer will tell you, a little goes a long way.

Brands that use red: Coca-Cola, Netflix, YouTube

Blue – The Trust Builder

Blue is the colour of calm, stability, and trust, which is why banks and social media platforms often use it in their branding. A blue palette can make your website feel more reliable and serene, encouraging users to feel secure and at ease while navigating through your content.

Brands that use blue: PayPal, Visa, Facebook

Yellow – The Optimist

Ah, sunshine yellow, the colour of optimism, warmth and clarity. It’s a colour that can light up your site with a friendly and inviting vibe. Perfect for creative industries or children’s products, yellow brings a lightheartedness that can’t be ignored. Pair it with darker colours for a scheme that’s both cheerful and grounded.

Brands that use yellow: McDonalds, IKEA, Snapchat

Green – The Harmoniser

Green is the colour of growth, renewal, and harmony. It’s a great choice for businesses that want to connect their brand with nature or signify growth and prosperity. Green colour schemes create a refreshing, relaxing and balanced feel.

Brands that use green: Starbucks, Landrover, Greenpeace

Purple – The Innovator

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red to create a colour that oozes creativity and luxury. It’s ideal for brands that want to be seen as innovators or visionaries in their field. A royal colour, purple suggests sophistication and decadence, making your website feel exclusive.

Brands that use purple: Cadbury, Hallmark, Wimbledon

Orange – The Adventurer

Orange is a blend of red’s passion and yellow’s joy, creating a colour full of energy and warmth. It’s adventurous, fun, and sociable and draws attention without the same intensity as red. Orange is perfect for call-to-actions with a little less urgency or for brands that want to show their playful side.

Brands that use orange: Fanta, Nickelodeon, Harley-Davidson

5. Implementing Colour Psychology on Your Website

Colour plays a huge part in how people perceive your brand. Thankfully, when working with a professional web design company, like Source, we do the heavy lifting to make sure your site’s colour scheme does what it should.

However, if you’re considering doing your own rebranding, or want some homework that will help you decide which direction to take your brand, here are some recommended steps.

Step 1: Consult your brand guidelines

If you’ve invested in brand guidelines, it’s generally worth sticking to them. After all, the choices made in that document were based on everything we’ve discussed in this article. However, if your brand guidelines are outdated or you feel they don’t accurately reflect your business, don’t be afraid to start fresh.

Step 2: Touch base with your branding

Whether you’ve decided to scrap your brand guidelines or you didn’t have any to begin with, the next step is to take a look at your brand colours – namely, your logo and visual collateral. They may have been fit for purpose a few years ago, but do they reflect what you stand for today? And more importantly, do they reflect what you want your business to be in the future?

Step 3: Know who you’re talking to

Your audience’s preferences are one of the best important factors when deciding your colour scheme. Younger crowds might dig the energy of bright, bold colours, while an older demographic might prefer a more reserved palette. Who are you targeting, and how can you make sure that when they land on your website, they feel right at home?

Step 4: Set the mood

No, we’re not talking about Barry White, although the colour white will certainly come into play. The final factor in your branding is to decide on the vibe you’re going for. Do you want your site to convey calm or be a burst of energy? Colour choices are key to making this happen.

By following these steps, you’ll have a clearer idea of your brand’s identity, will connect more deeply with your audience, and can create the atmosphere you want, all while staying true to your business’s vision.

6. Bringing The Energy with Gather & Gather

When we teamed up with Gather & Gather, their mission was to shake things up in the food and drink world. Their logo, a cool midnight green/teal, already oozed boldness and creativity. It’s a colour that says, “We’re not your average caterers,” matching their vibe of being brave adventurers in their field. And while we can’t take credit for that clever colour choice, we were on hand to bring the rest of their website to life.

To dial up the energy, we sprinkled in some vibrant pops of yellow and pink. Yellow for energy and innovation—like a light bulb moment for every visitor. Pink for that splash of fun and fearlessness, showing they’re game to push boundaries. These weren’t random choices; they reflected Gather & Gather’s own words: “brave, bold, and curious adventurers in food and drink.”

Our palette was about complementing their brand while telling their story, mirroring their mission to challenge the usual and champion the unique. The result? A website that’s as adventurous and unconventional as Gather & Gather themselves.

7. Regal Raspberry with Chambord Liqueur

When the team at Chambord came to us for a website refresh, we were immediately inspired by their logo, which dripped with elegance. Our mission was to capture the essence of “make the moment magnifique.”

We let the visuals lead, as Chambord’s provided images featured effective pops of pink against their raspberry liqueur. So, instead of stealing focus, we used a pale pink backdrop that allowed the brand’s character to shine. The text, in the brand’s regal purple, whispered gentle opulence, drawing visitors into a world where every detail counts.

chambord website done by a web design company in richmond

8. A Glow-Up for Dr Karla Clinic

Rolling out the red carpet for Dr Karla Clinic’s website was all about matching the elegance they bring to aesthetic medicine. Their logo, a chic dark blush, perfectly represents their high-end skincare clientele.

For the website, we leaned into sophistication using crisp white and deep navy. White is the ultimate colour for purity and freshness— and reflects the clean, luxury skincare clinic that visitors expect to find. Then there’s the navy, adding calm and professionalism that looks incredibly effective against the touches of blush.

This colour combo is strategic. It tells a story of trust, service, and timeless beauty and sets the tone for customers who go on to visit the clinic.

9. For Colour Psychology, Go Directly to the Source

From picking the perfect palette to making every user’s visit feel like the perfect first date, Source London is on hand to transform your website. If you’re looking for a team that can help your site stand out for all the right reasons, get in touch.

Web designers often sound like they’re speaking a foreign language to someone outside the industry. From SEO to “sticky elements,” the technical terms and jargon can be overwhelming. At Source, we aim to simplify the process of web design for our clients, so we take time to explain things to them in everyday language. However, there is some value in understanding industry terminology, and we know not all agencies take the same time to break things down.

Whether you’re a business owner, a budding web designer, or simply curious about website mechanics, we’re here to bust the jargon with a handy glossary. After all, knowledge is power.

So, without further ado, here are some commonly used terms in web design and what they mean in layman’s terms.

Definition diagram web design twickenham

1. 404 Page

A 404 page is a digital no-man’s land and appears when a website visitor tries to access a page that doesn’t exist. However, with intelligent design, you can turn it into a helpful redirect or search prompt, guiding users back to relevant content.

2. A/B Testing

A/B testing is essentially a digital experiment that compares two versions of your web page (A and B) to see which performs better. Whether it’s the colour of a button or two different headlines, A/B testing gives you a chance to improve user experience and get the outcome you’re looking for.

3. API (Application Programming Interface)

An API lets different software applications talk to each other. It’s a set of rules that allows your website to pull in information or functionality from other services, making your site more powerful and connected.

4. Above-the-fold

This is an old term that comes from newspapers and refers to that first section of the paper you see when you grab it off the shelf. In web design, it refers to the content visible on a website before you start scrolling. It’s the prime spot for grabbing attention and making a strong first impression.

5. Accessibility

Accessibility makes your website usable for everyone, including people with disabilities. It involves design and coding practices that remove barriers to access, ensuring all users can use, understand, and interact with your site. Read our complete guide to website accessibility here.

6. Adaptive Design

A graphical user interface (GUI) design adapts to different screen sizes. Websites with adaptive design use fixed layouts that don’t respond once they’re initially loaded. It detects the device and other features and chooses the best layout for the screen.
See also Responsive Design.

7. Backlink

A backlink is a link from another website to yours and serves as a digital vote of confidence (particularly if the site doing the linking is credible). High-quality backlinks from good sources can improve your site’s ranking in search engine results, but poor-quality backlinks can do the opposite.

8. Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data which is able to travel across an internet connection at a given time. High bandwidth means larger data files, like videos and images, can load quickly on your website.

9. Block

In web design, a section of a webpage is often referred to as a block. Blocks can be text, images, or buttons – they’re essentially the building blocks that make up the layout of your site.

10. Body

The body of a website is the main content area, where you find text, images, and videos. It’s everything between the header and footer, serving as the core of your website’s message. “Body copy” is the block of text that sits below a heading.

11. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a free, open-source toolkit for creating responsive, mobile-first websites. It provides ready-made blocks of code (like a LEGO set) to help you build and design websites faster.

12. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a navigational aid on websites. Just like the physical breadcrumbs in Hansel & Gretel, they’re designed to lead you back to where you started. Breadcrumbs improve usability and SEO by giving clear, direct paths.

13. Brochure Site

A brochure site is the digital equivalent of a printed brochure. It’s typically used by businesses to showcase their services or products in a straightforward way. If you’re looking for a website that lets you display your core information without the need for added bells and whistles, a brochure site is the way to do it.  

14. CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A CDN is a server network that is spread across the globe, delivering website content to users more quickly by hosting it closer to them geographically. It’s like having multiple express delivery trucks on hand ready to deliver your data, which allows for faster load times and a better user experience.

15. CMS (Content Management System)

CMS software lets you create, manage, and modify content on a website without needing specialised technical knowledge. WordPress and Shopify are examples of well-known CMS’s.

16. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS is a language that describes the way a document written in HTML is laid out. CSS controls the visual aspects of web pages, allowing developers to set fonts, colours, spacing, etc, to create a site with a consistent design.

17. Cache

A cache is a technology that temporarily stores web content, such as images and web pages, to make future requests for that data faster. It’s like a memory bank that helps browsers load websites quicker, thereby reducing visitor wait times.

18. Call-to-Action (CTA)

A CTA is a website prompt that encourages users to take a particular action, like “Sign Up” or “Buy Now.” It’s a direct invitation that steers your users toward the outcome you’d like them to make.

19. Carousel

A carousel is a sliding or rotating set of images, text, or other content on a website. It allows you to make the most of prime real estate on your site, such as at the top of the home page, by sharing multiple pieces of content.

20. Conversion

Conversion is what we call the act of a visitor taking a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Whether you’re trying to build an email database or sell products, conversion is the end goal – turning a passive visitor into an active participant.

21. Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is a measurement of the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action out of the total number of visitors. We use conversion rates to understand a site’s effectiveness at meeting a goal.

22. Domain Name

A domain name is the web address where people can access your website, for example, https://sourcelondon.co/. Like a physical address for your home, it directs visitors straight to your doorstep and reduces the risk of them getting lost (or distracted) when trying to find you.

23. Favicon

A favicon is a small icon that appears in the address bar and tabs of a browser. It’s a tiny branding element that can make your site stand out and be easily recognised by users flipping through their open tabs.

24. Flat Design

Flat design is a minimalist approach that emphasises usability. It features open space, crisp edges, bright colours, and reduced textures, shadows, or gradients. The aim is to simplify what the user sees to create a cleaner and more straightforward user experience.

25. Fold

See Above-the-fold.

26. Footer

The footer is the bottom section of a website and usually contains copyright information, contact details, sitemap links, and other less prominent but important information. It offers users navigation options and details without cluttering the main content.

27. Grid System

A grid system is a structural framework of columns and rows used to layout and organise content on a webpage. It helps designers align content and maintain consistency so that your site is aesthetically pleasing and functions across different devices.

28. H1, H2 (and H3, H4, H5, H6)

H1 through H6 tags are types of headings used to rank the order of importance from H1 (most important) to H6 (least important). They structure the content to make it easy for people to read your text and for search engines to understand the information hierarchy. A page should have only one H1, but it can have multiple lower headings, depending on how you layout your content.

29. HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

The language of web pages, HTML, uses simple code structures called tags to outline text, images, and other content for web browsers. Think of it as the blueprint of a website, where each tag is a command that tells your browser how to display the elements on the page.

30. Heatmap

A heatmap is like a weather map for your website, showing you the areas that are getting the most attention on your site. Offering insights into user behaviour, it can tell you where people click, scroll, and spend the most time.

31. Hero Image

A hero image is a large banner picture at the top of a website. It’s the first thing users see when they visit your site, designed to grab attention and give a clear message about your brand or service. Like the cover of a book, it sets the tone for the entire website experience.

32. Hosting

Your website is stored digitally on a server by a “host”, which makes it accessible on the internet. It’s like renting a space on the web where your site’s data lives, ensuring people can visit your website anytime from anywhere.

33. JavaScript

JavaScript is a language used by programmers to create interactive elements on websites, such as games, animations, and forms. It brings websites to life, adding functionality that improves the user experience beyond the static pages created by HTML and CSS.

34. Landing Page

A specific web page created for a marketing or advertising campaign, landing pages are often separate from your main navigation. Once a visitor clicks a link in an email or from Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc, they’re sent to a purpose-made page for conversion.

35. Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a technique that prevents a browser from loading non-critical resources until they’re needed. Instead, images or videos are only loaded when the user scrolls to the relevant part of the screen. This improves page load times and conserves bandwidth, making the website faster and more efficient.

36. Material Design

A language developed by Google, the material design emphasises bold, graphic, and intentional visuals. It uses design principles like lighting, surface, and movement to create more intuitive and visually appealing interfaces.

37. Metadata

Metadata is essentially data about data. On a website, it refers to information that tells search engines and browsers about the contents of a page. Metadata can include titles, descriptions, and keywords that aren’t visible to users but help improve SEO and how information is displayed in search results.

38. Microsite

A microsite is a branded, specific site that lives outside of a company’s main website. It has a separate URL and is usually used for a specific campaign or target audience. Microsites allow you to showcase focused and detailed information that wouldn’t fit comfortably on the leading site.

39. Minification

By removing unnecessary characters (like spaces, comments, and new lines), the minification process streamlines source code without changing its functionality. This makes the code lighter and reduces load times, improving website speed and performance.

40. Mock-up

In web design, a mock-up is a visual representation of a webpage, showing how it will look and function before it’s built. It’s a key step in the design process, allowing the client to make adjustments before development begins.

41. Modal

A pop-up window that appears on top of a website’s main content, requiring users to interact with it before returning to the site. It’s often used for alerts, forms, or to provide important information, grabbing the user’s attention without taking them to a different page.

42. Navigation

Navigation includes menus, dropdowns, and links that help users find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Good navigation is key to a great user experience, making sure everything on a site is easy to find.

43. Negative Space

See White Space.

44. Pagination

Pagination divides content into separate pages, making it more manageable and user-friendly. It’s commonly seen in search results or on blogs, where a limited number of items or posts are displayed at a time, with controls to navigate to the next or previous set.

45. Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling is a visual effect on a webpage where the foreground and background content moves at different speeds as you scroll. This creates a sense of depth and adds a dynamic, interactive layer to the browsing experience.

46. Responsive Design

Responsive design is an approach that makes web pages respond to the type of device they’re being accessed on, down to the screen size. It ensures a site looks good and works well, whether you’re viewing it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.

47. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO is method for increasing organic search by targeting search engine algorithms. It involves improving your site’s content and structure to make it more attractive to search engines, with the aim of making your site appear higher in search results. The task of optimising for search engines and also for human users is a fine balance.

Seo diagram web design richmond

48. SSL Certificate

An SSL Certificate is a digital indicator that a site is secure and trustworthy, which is essential for e-commerce sites and any site that collects user information.

49. Sitemap

A file that contains information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site. It’s like a map of your website that helps search engines find, crawl, and index all of your content more efficiently.

50. Splash Page

An optional page that users see before entering a website’s main content. It can be used to promote a company, product, or service or to inform visitors about site requirements, like age restrictions. Splash pages should be used sparingly to avoid impacting the user experience.

51. Sticky Elements

Sticky elements are features on a webpage that stay visible and fixed in place as you scroll up or down the page. Common sticky elements include navigation bars and call-to-action buttons.

52. User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) incorporates all the elements of a site that visitors interact with when dealing with a company, its services, and its products. The goal of UX design in web development is to create easy, efficient, relevant, and all-around pleasant experiences for the user.

53. User Interface (UI)

User Interface (UI) relates to the elements that users interact with on a website, including buttons, icons, spacing, typography, colour schemes, etc. The aim of UI design is to visually guide users through a website.

54. Web Analytics

The collection, reporting, and analysis of your site data is referred to as web analytics. Using tools like GA4, we can identify measures based on your organisational goals and then look at the website data to see how its meeting those goals.

55. Website Wireframe

A wireframe is a visual guide that presents the skeleton of a website. It’s used in the early development process to represent the basic structure of a page before design and content are added, focusing on what a page does, not what it looks like.

56. White Space

White space, or negative space, refers to the blank spaces between visuals, columns, lines, graphics, and margins on a webpage. White space is almost as important to a design as the beautiful elements, as it creates balance.

57. Widget

A widget is a small application or program that can be embedded and executed within a web page. It has a specific function, such as weather updates, stock tickers, or social media feeds. Widgets add elements of interactivity and utility to a site.

58. Wireframe

See Website Wireframe.

Web Wireframe diagram web design twickenham

Get Your Site Back on Track with Source, Ealing Web Designers

Understanding web design terminology is just the first step toward creating a website that not only looks great but meets your users’ needs. If you’re looking for expert assistance to bring your vision to life, our team is here to help.

With a deep understanding of web design principles and a keen eye for detail, we specialise in websites that stand out for all the right reasons. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or it’s time to refresh your existing site, get a quote today.

In web design, there’s rarely breaking news that could transform the industry. But when some sort of new technology does make an appearance, it certainly makes a stir. The arrival of AI is no different, with artificial intelligence being either firmly adopted or demonised by designers. The big question is, of course, can AI come close to replicating what can be produced by an experienced designer, or will it in the future?

This isn’t just a theoretical discussion, it’s particularly relevant right now, with AI constantly finding itself in the headlines. Not long ago, creatives were saying that AI would be the end of art and creativity as we know it. And while it seems too early to dispute that, it’s well worth investigating how it could help or hinder web designers.

In less than a year, AI has moved from doing simple tasks to dreaming up whole design layouts, marking a major leap forward in tech. But even with all these advancements, we’re left wondering—does AI boost a designer’s skills, or does it risk taking over?

In this article, we’ll be looking at how AI has evolved in web design, what it’s doing now, and whether it has the capacity to replace the natural creativity of humans. The answer, as always, will lie somewhere in the middle.

web design Ealing

1. The History of AI in Web Design

The story of AI has been pretty wild, moving from simple automation to the endless range of cool applications we see today. At first, AI was essentially an assistant doing the boring stuff—handling the basics of coding or throwing together some basic text—small features that made life a little easier for designers.

Then, AI started to get a bit smarter, offering suggestions on how to improve designs with tools like Adobe Sensei. Platforms like The Grid made some bold promises about creating websites that basically put themselves together, changing up based on what you feed them.

Recently, things have really started to accelerate – AI’s not just cutting corners; it’s being used to make things better. A great example is AI being used to improve website accessibility, which was once a much harder task for a web designer to execute. Let’s look a bit deeper at how AI is being used within the industry at the moment.

2. How Is AI Being Used in Web Design Today?

Whether they’ll talk about it or not, AI is being used everywhere in web design these days, from helping find the perfect complementary HEX code to cooking up content. It can be super tempting to lean on these tools since they knock hours off a project, but the real magic comes from understanding when AI makes a project better and when you really need that human touch.

Here are a few ways we’ve explored using AI in-house and what we’ve learned about these systems as tools.

Making Layouts on Autopilot

AI stepping into layout design would certainly have been a game-changer for new designers, making something that used to eat up a lot of time way quicker. Programs like Adobe XD’s Auto Layout use AI to help designers create layouts that are flexible and responsive, making sure content looks good on any screen size. For DIY websites being built by their owners, Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) takes it up a notch by creating whole website layouts from the ground up. The user just tells it what kind of site they’re working on and any specific likes or dislikes, and ADI gets working on a design that meets the brief.

While these tools can create a sleek-looking product and certainly help new designers who don’t have much experience, they’re still playing by a set of rules. They can’t pick up on the finer points of a brand’s ethos or what a specific group of people might need like a human designer can. So, while AI is a bit like having a super keen apprentice ready to lend a hand, making sure a design really hits the mark still needs that human instinct and know-how.

Colour Scheme Selection

Picking out the perfect colour scheme is more like painting a masterpiece than following a recipe. It’s all about balancing the impression a brand wants to create with an understanding of colour psychology and what makes people tick. For some designers, colour scheme selection and “mood boarding” is their favourite part of the creative process. For others, there are now AI tools like Coolors and Adobe Color to offer palette suggestions based on what’s trending, what colours work well together or even recommendations based on a picture you input. 

These tools are awesome for sparking that initial “a-ha” moment or getting past a creative roadblock. But the problem is that the real magic of a colour scheme isn’t just about looking good – it’s about stirring up the right emotions and making a connection with visitors on a deeper level, an area where AI tools are still falling short. While AI can throw out pretty colour combinations all day long, picking a palette that tells a brand’s story and really resonates is still very much a human job.

Spinning Content

When it comes to churning out content, AI has become both a hero and a villain. With people (usually with no writing background) using it to pop out everything from product descriptions to social media posts, the cracks are starting to show. Tools like OpenAI’s GPT-4 give users a flying start, removing that blank-page writer’s block moment. But— and this is a big one—AI is not a writer. 

Yes, AI can use its language modelling to do a decent impression of a human. With the right prompts, it can even create content that’s halfway there, but it can’t bring the personality, experience or value that a human writer brings.

Image Creation

While web designers may be a creative bunch, not all of us are blessed with graphic design skills, meaning that building a website is often a collaborative process. While collaboration is awesome, it also has the potential to slow projects down and can result in mismatched imagery if the various team members aren’t working with the same vision in mind. AI design tools like DALL-E and Adobe Photoshop’s Generative Fill provide a magic wand – explain what you want, and you can create custom images to suit your site. 

These tools are great for cutting down the endless search for that one perfect picture. But, when we get down to it, it still requires the input of someone who knows what they’re doing. Picking the right concept, communicating that to AI and then fine-tuning the output to meet your brief is no small feat!

Ultimately, despite the advancements in AI, web design is still all about the human touch. At Source, we enjoy using AI as a tool to help flesh out ideas, leaving our designers free to spend more time on the creative parts, but we see AI as just that – a tool that needs to be wielded in capable hands for best results.

3. The Limitations of AI in Creativity

We’ve covered what AI does well, but let’s look at the areas it isn’t up to scratch. While AI is an amazing development in technology, it’s certainly not about to take over the creative world anytime soon. Here are the areas in which AI is limited and is unlikely to catch up any time soon.

Understanding Context and Emotion

One big barrier for AI is the uniquely human element of context and emotion. AI can crunch numbers and spot trends quicker than any employee you’ve got on staff, but when it comes to really understanding the nuance of human interactions, it’s a bit out of its league.  

We’ve heard an analogy that is spot on here, “AI knows all the words to the song but doesn’t know the tune.” Meanwhile, a human with years of experience under their belt may get the odd word wrong, but they’ll do a much better job belting out the George Michael song than our robot comrades. 

Originality and Innovation

AI by its definition, is only artificially intelligent. It’s programmed to use information it has access to, not think on its feet. For this reason, it is great with repetitive tasks or those with very clear parameters, but can’t innovate or create original works. 

In contrast, designers (and humans in general) pull ideas from everywhere, not just from examples of similar projects but from the wider world of human experience. This knack for thinking outside the box lets us go beyond what’s been done before and land somewhere totally new – AI’s just not wired for those kinds of leaps.

The Human Touch

What really makes a web design stand out is the personal touch, the little tweaks and unexpected elements a designer adds that turn “nice” into “wow.” Whether it’s offsetting an image to better balance a page or placing a button that leads visitors exactly where they need to go, human designers outshine AI by miles. 

While it can interpret a brief, AI doesn’t read between the lines to get the backstory of a brand or have a wider understanding of a user’s motivations. It can’t match the heart, the empathy, or the authenticity a human brings to the table. These touches are what make designs connect with people and why the designer’s role is something AI can’t take over.

4. The Relationship Between AI and Web Designers

As you may have guessed, we feel strongly that AI has earned a place in a web designer’s arsenal but that it shouldn’t be used without close oversight. To those still firmly resisting AI, we suggest thinking about it less as someone coming for your job, and more as the eager new kid in the mailroom. Here are a few ways you can use that willingness to make your day a little easier.

Efficiency and Speed

One of the big wins of having AI on the team is how it tackles basic tasks at lightning speed, from making quick edits to a bunch of pictures to writing code that makes websites play nice on any screen. This means projects not only move faster but also that the brain-draining tasks don’t suck the fun out of being creative.

Data Analysis and Optimisation

AI has the power to plough through large amounts of user data, giving designers the kind of insights that used to be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to get on their own. By understanding how visitors are currently using a website, you can consider ways to make things work better and improve user experience.

Accessibility and User Experience

AI’s been a leading force in making the web a friendlier place for everyone. With tools that can check if a site is up to snuff, designers can make the accessibility tweaks needed to make sure nobody’s left out. Read more about this topic in our Complete Guide to Website Accessibility

The future is a collaborative team effort between AI and the humans behind the screen. It’s this back-and-forth that will allow productivity and creativity to be dual focuses, no longer having to pick one or the other.

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5. AI and Human Creativity, The Future of Web Design

At the core of every great website is a spark of human creativity—something AI just can’t replicate. It’s our imagination, our gut feelings, and our ability to connect on an emotional level that breathes life into design concepts. 

But AI wasn’t designed to kill creativity. In fact, it can allow us to do more creating, freeing up time from mundane tasks to come up with new ideas and giving us the technology to create what we might have never thought possible.

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