Overlapping Web Design Elements

The Importance of Design Elements

Design is an important component of any product, solution, or service: the visual appeal, accessibility, and user-friendliness of a product all influence consumers' decisions. If the design does not entice a user, one is less likely to buy a product. Similarly, if the user is not captivated by the website, the reader will likely move onto a more suitable website. When web design began in the 1990s, there were few standards for design, so websites were more organic. However, in the 21st century, with advanced features and capabilities, web designers have design standards to follow.


Overlapping Elements of Design

Having grown in an era with an understanding of design standards, web designers no longer rely on websites that showcase individual elements. Instead, designers use many different elements, factors, and techniques to build intricate websites. The result is an interface that users find easy to access and to engage. For example, instead of having a separate image and a title text, one can overlap the text of the image. This creates a dynamic feel to the website and helps the viewer focus on the text.

The Box Model

An example of overlapping multiple web design elements can be seen with the Cascade Style Sheet (CSS) Box Model. The Box Model consists of a margin, border, padding, and content. Each element is stacked on top of the other. The outer layers wrap around the content to make the content stand out. Design Elements & Principles describes the importance of how lines and borders direct the user’s attention to a specific section of the website. Solid lines of color are not the only borders that work with the Box Model. Images can also be used as backgrounds, which center the viewers’ attention to the content. Catching the user’s attention and highlighting important information with borders, web designers create a three-dimensional effect. This also helps define space between elements.

Design Models using Overlapping Elements

Overlapping web design elements can be seen in lots of modern-day website models. Semi-Flat Design, Card Design, Background Videos, and Large & Responsive Hero Image all use overlapping web design elements. Overlapping web design elements create better visual flow for websites and attract viewers. In 2013, Apple created Semi-Flat Design, which uses text and a transparent box overtop of an image. The shadows create depth and intrigue the user to see what happens when one clicks on the text. Other websites such as Uber have followed Apple’s Semi-Flat design model.

How Overlapping Elements Appeals to Users

In our fast-changing society, a website must meet the needs of today’s demanding users. What is popular or easy to navigate could change as quickly as new software updates come out. Overlapping Elements can help attract users with interactive and visually pleasing dynamics. One pattern noticed with modern websites is that websites are designed so that text and images complement one another. Also, those images are strategically picked to match background colors. This creates a seamless feeling that the image is part of the background and keeps the website fluid.

Overlapping Elements Shaping Future Websites

Heading into the future, one can already see new trends that will influence the websites of the next generation. Our livelihood revolves around the internet, and without well-designed business websites, our way of life will fall into chaos. Creating a three-dimensional and flowing feel to a website seems to be pushing beyond the confining lines of simple websites. The philosophy of good web design should entail new animation techniques, scrolling capabilities, linking to scrolling, and other elements. Web design techniques change every day, and overlapping web design elements will play a large role in syncing these design elements together.



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A Seattle web design and online marketing agency that delivers high-end websites. A passion for web development and SEO.