Principles of Proximity in Web Design Before You Plan For Website Design

Principles of proximity in web design must be taken into consideration by a web designers or web developers while planning for website design or while going through the process of web design. The principles of proximity play a major role in making web page more effective than what can be achieved without it. You must be curious about the term proximity in web design and might be thinking that what does it actually mean? Actually, the term proximity in web design signifies the nearness in space or closeness in series.

The closeness in proximity the closeness in proximity means each sentence in the paragraph should relate to the others in that same paragraph. In simple words we can say that, the elements that are related should be visually connected. Likewise, elements that are not related should be visually separated. Principles of proximity can be easily implemented on the websites having lighter content, but where the problem generates, when matter comes to implement on content-rich websites.

The proper use of proximity, in conjunction with other design principles leaves a big impact on the user experience and finally led to the overall success of the website. The experts and professionals in the concerned field who have number of years of experience has told in regard to proximity in web design that designing a website without keeping proximity principles, such as putting white spaces, in mind is just like throwing dinner into the blender and then drinking it through a straw. From this line one can imagine the importance of proximity in web design. The principles of proximity in web design strike the mind of the web designers or developers for relating items in order to group them visually, creating less clutter and making for a more organized layout. These principles tell the designers to place the unrelated items further apart from each other in order to emphasize their lack of relationship.

Today in this post we have come up with some of the most useful principles of proximity in web design which when implemented on any website development project will yield effective result. We hope web designers or developers will be certainly benefitted from this post. Check out these principles and also do not forget to present your views regarding this post. Please leave a comment in the comment area; that will be welcomed by us.

Importance of Proximity in Web Design

Before proceeding to the proximity principles, let us first make you understood the importance of proximity in web design with the help of example so that you can never underestimate the concept of proximity. The example which we are going to present will illustrate you the importance of proximity in print design, and you can implement the similar idea in web design. Let’s start:

The below presented screenshot is of the well known website which you might be aware of. It can be taken as the excellent example of the proximity in web design. If you will go through the website, you will find that Arora Designs’ website is not too much complex or information-heavy, but it has effectively made use of white space and visual separation of grouped elements. It should be noted here that “white space” does not have to be white; it can be any empty space between elements, regardless of color.

proximity in webdesign

In the case of Arora Designs, although the white space has color, it serves the same purpose of
It has excellently followed the principles of proximity by visually separating the header, navigation and content areas and serves its purpose well. The result is what, an elegant website drawing the attention of the user towards it, and hence raising the visitor’s traffic which in turn leading to the overall success of the site.

Principles of Proximity in web Design

Now let us start with what are the principles of proximity which must be taken into consideration by a web designer or developer. Let’s have a look:

Don’t Fear White Space

As we have already discussed earlier, comprehending the importance of white space is the first and the most important step towards the implementation of the principles of proximity in web design. We know well that the design is the means of communicating information or conveying message to the user; their natural proclivity is to spread out the content evenly to fill the space, organizing the white space in well manner. White space leaves a broad impact on the mentality of the users and creates an everlasting impression if it is arranged in a systematic order. You can view the effect of this in the site

proximity in web design

When you will look carefully this site, you will find that this site contains a considerable amount of content under several categories along with a series of sidebar ads. This is the excellent example of the proximity in web design where all the white spaces are organized in a systematic order. The appropriately spaced items in the content and sidebar areas and header part give a clean and organized look to this website. One cannot deny from the fact that the entire website is wonderfully designed providing unique experience to the visitors and creating strong visitor’s traffic in a short span of time.

Our main concerns of putting this example to you is to make you well understood that don’t feel insecure for the white spaces in your design but try to manage it properly following the principles of proximity in web design  and for making your design visually appealing.

Visually Group Related Elements

However, white space is one of the important part of the proximity in web design, visually group related elements are also no less important that it. If items are not grouped properly, the white space will have little effect on the website.
Let us compare the two, one with properly grouped items and another without it with the help of two business cards. Let us see the below given figure:

proximity in web design

When you will look on the two cards, you can easily analyze the effect of the properly grouped items. Here the card on the left is not cluttered or not organized in proper way; it has some white space which seems effect less. While on the other hand, the contents of the right hand side of the visiting card is properly grouped and hence leaving more pleasing visual effect on the user or the reader.

Creating Visual Hierarchy

All of you, being a web designer or developer, must be aware of fact that the architecture of the website and flow of information is base of effective proximity in web design. Thus it is mandatory to create a clear visual hierarchy of contents on your website which can be achieved through effective use of white space and grouping together related.

You should note that, hierarchy should be maintained in such manner that the elements within it must be grouped and sub-grouped; it is just because it is the hierarchy which lets the user to understand where they are and where they want to go and in this way assists them in communicating easier and understanding the purpose of the website.

The below presented list can be taken as a good example of clear visual hierarchy through which you may get idea for your website. The left side of the below presented figure presents a clear visual hierarchy representing one under other showing the relationships between items. While, on the other hand, the right side list is just a random grouping of elements presenting no relationship with each other in the hierarchy.

proximity in web design

Layouts That Are Easy to Scan and Read

Besides white spaces, grouping of items on the site and the creating visual hierarchy, principles of proximity in web design  also tells that the layouts of the site should be such that it can be easily scanned or read. Generally, it is found that, content that is organized into a hierarchy and grouped logically is easier to read and scan. Thus, it is very much necessary that the content of the website should be in planned manner reflecting an appropriate visual hierarchy and highlighting the main points of the site.

One of the great advantages of proximity is that, a website that uses proximity in its architecture and design does not overwhelm the user with information. News websites can be the best example of this case. Here we are taking example of is a news site of Los Angeles Times.

proximity in web design

When you will visit this news website, you will be really got impressed with its stunning designing based on the principles of proximity in web design. The overall design of the Los Angeles Times website is pleasing to eye due to its color choice, typography, and a clean and uncluttered look, especially in the header section.

The logo of this site is big enough to grab the attention of the user. The object nearest to the logo and the text links above the logo are neatly arranged with plenty of space between the two sections.
Also not only the layout, color choice, or spacing of items, every bit of information put on this website is excellently grouped with related items which can be easily scanned and read by the visitors with ease contributing the rise of visitor’s traffic on this site.

Grids Help With Proximity

Above, you have understood two aspects of proximity in web design , one is organizing white spaces, and the other is grouping of website items effectively. One of the great ways to accomplish this is to start with a grid. This is just because a website made on a grid-based layout along with appropriate channel sizes, permits for abundance of opportunity. And not only this, in most of the cases, it also enforces the designer to implement principles of proximity without even thinking about it.

The below presented screenshot is a superb example of proximity in web design with grid system. The site is fairly designed employing 960 grid system. With light content and grid layout systematizing contents in an outstanding manner providing room for each section, the proximity design of this site looks really amazing.

proximity in web design

Lead Users down the Right Path

You should note that proximity helps users navigating a website without any unnecessary delays or obstacles. Proximity in web design play a major role in building a proper visual hierarchy which in turn lets the users to delve deeper into website without being worried for where they’ve been or where they’re going. So, by following the principles of proximity, web designers can make the user to access their website quickly and efficiently making huge visitor’s traffic and ultimately success to the site.


Going through the above post, you must have realized the significance of Proximity in web design. You should notice that proximity is not only design principle that makes a site more usable and visually pleasing, but it is a key aspect to any website’s grand success. And also, it is not like that, the designers having number of years of experience can follow the principles of proximity in their web design project, but even beginners can also avail the advantage, implementing it on their websites.
I hope you find the principles of

proximity in web design

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Williams Heilmann

Williams Heilmann has been associated with PSDtoWordPressExpert for many years. He has extensive experience as a web developer and works with this company to offer the best WordPress solutions to suit the specific needs of the clients. Also, he has got a flair for writing which he consumes in writing the informational blogs for submission on different websites.