100 Things You Should Know About People: #28 — Things that are close together seem to belong together

Do you want a quick and easy way to make any web page easier to use and more intuitive? If you want people to realize that two things “belong” together, then put them near each other (close proximity), and put other things a little further away. Sounds simple, right?  Many usability and user experience principles are complicated and may take significant time and energy to accomplish. This is one of the easier ones!

Let’s take a look at some web sites for examples:

In the image below of the Crutchfield page, there is a gray arrow that ends up being very close to the text on the left that says, “connect with a true audiovideo specialist”. Because that arrow is so close to the text (and actually appears to “point” to the text), the text and pictures “belong” together and become connected (as they should).

picture of Crutchfield web site

At the Global Giving website, the amount of space between text and pictures that are supposed to “go together” is about the same as the amount of space between items. This makes it less clear what text goes with what picture.

Picture of Global Giving website

In the MSNBC website the spacing between headers and photos are all even. It is not clear at a glance what headline goes with what photo.

Picture of MSNBC website

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