As a tour operator, you may be asking yourself, “does having a specific layout on my website really matter? At the end of the day, the important thing is that all the information is there and whoever is visiting my website will navigate their way around just fine, right?” Wrong! We’re pretty sure that everyone has had the experience of maintaining an untidy room in their house, or even just a silverware drawer that is cluttered with more than just knives and forks. It may be out of laziness, lack of time or perhaps faulty organizational skills that these are kept in a messy state.
Nevertheless, when it comes to searching for a specific item that you know or think is in that room (or drawer), the stress begins, and that stress often turns into frustration which in turn results in giving up on what you’re searching for. This is the very same basis for business websites, or any type of website for that matter. You won’t have much luck keeping visitors interested in navigating your website if it is untidy and disorganized. Instead, having a well organized and attractive layout will make life easier for you and your visitors, as this allows you to strategically lead them to the products and information that you want them to see.
Let’s start by looking at the definition of “layout”. This refers to how different parts of something are arranged. The end goal of implementing a certain layout is usually to make something more accessible and easier to consume, and more often than not this allows you to actually guide the visitors to a specific place on the site. In the context of website design, accessibility is everything, so a specific layout can make or break your website. This concerns the arrangement of texts and visual elements on the page. A well designed layout makes the overall chances that a visitor to your website will remain on your site a lot higher, and eventually convince them to purchase your products.
Don’t forget that desktop computers and laptops aren’t the only screens from which we browse the internet. To accomplish a successful tourism website that reaches a wider audience, you should envision your web pages on a smaller screen. Research shows that more people browse websites from their mobile phone than from desktop computers. This is why it is necessary to know how to optimize your website layout in order to reach a wider audience, including mobile and tablet users.
Principles of Layout Design
Within a website layout, aspects of visual design, such as colors, contrast, typography, texture and repetition are all intertwined. Furthermore, the use of hierarchy, balance, space, alignment and proximity are all components that when combined intelligently will produce a user-friendly website that will not only be visually attractive but also intuitive for the visitor to navigate. A professional website will always involve UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design processes, of which layout is just one of several factors taken into consideration.
In order to better understand how each aspect contributes to an efficient website layout, let’s take a look at them one by one:
When we talk about hierarchy we are referring to the order of importance of the different elements on a page. What should draw the visitor’s eye as a priority? One way to achieve hierarchy is through size. Be it a text or visual element in question, generally speaking, the larger text will draw attention first, while a smaller text is likely to be read last (or sometimes not at all). Another way to input a hierarchy is through contrast. Visually, high contrast elements attract attention before any lower contrast elements.
Balance is inherently appeasing to the human eye. In graphic design, a balanced layout is the result of placing texts, images and other on-page elements in such a way that they are easy for the viewer to consume. A balanced layout typically incorporates either symmetry or asymmetry depending on the choice of design, as these are the easiest to achieve. The use of asymmetry in particular can help support the element of hierarchy as it gives dynamism and allows us to create a certain flow that leads the viewer to view the aspects in the order that we want them to.
When designing the layout for a web page, the element of alignment plays an important role in the flow and legibility of the different text and visual components. Here we have two options: edge alignment and center alignment. Edge alignment refers to when elements on the page are aligned to the left, right, top or bottom, whereas center alignment is quite literally having the components on the page center field. In the English language we read from left to right, so the most common alignment for informative texts is left side edge alignment. However, center alignment is effective for smaller text sections consisting of titles or visuals such as images and icons.
Proximity refers to the closeness of the elements that are connected visually or positioned together on a page. Different texts are complemented with different visual components, so in order for the viewer to be able to realize when one part of information finishes and another one starts, the proximity of each of the elements is fundamental. Though it is not recommended, some web pages include too much information on just one page, but we can strategically use proximity to help the viewer understand which elements are connected, so the content is easier to consume.
When we talk about space in a layout, we refer to the general spacing between and around the different elements on a page. Much like the proximity aspect, space allows us to indicate separation of different information, texts and visual aspects on a layout, so the user can easily distinguish which elements are related and which are not. Using space efficiently on a page prevents the viewer from becoming overwhelmed and leaving your website.
Check out our portfolio to see examples of successful websites that we have designed with user-friendly pages that sell tours for our clients!
Find this article useful? Enter your details below to receive your FREE copy of 95 Epic Places To List Your Tours and receive regular updates from Tourism Tiger and leading industry experts.
By submitting this form, you agree to Tourism Tiger contacting you via email.