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Week 6 Perception Analysis & Creation


Gestalt Principles & FADM within the Web Design


Gestalt psychology was developed during the 1920’s by three German psychologists, Wertheimer, Koffka and Kohler. Visual artists and designers of the twentieth century adopted gestalt perceptual factors to improve their works. No exception with students in Sampoerna University – through the modern learning with technology that enclose interactive design such as web pages, gestalt visual principles are applied in these interactive documents. This writing examines a select group of major gestalt visual principles and places them within the context of interactive media design. There are three Gestalt theories explained in this writing implemented in the blog, which are figure-ground, proximity, and similarity.

UntitledThe first principle of Gestalt theory implemented mostly is the law of Figure/Ground. In the terms of Gestalt, Figure refers to an active, positive form revealed against a passive, negative ground. The figure can be only identified because of its background, and the background only because of its figure. In addition. figure/ground reversals create a delightful ‘surprise’ in the viewer’s eye. This law of perception is dependent upon contrast. Images and text must be visible to be understood. An example of the use of the gestalt law of figure/ground is in the image beside (FADM). Viewer easier to read the more contrasting color on the fonts to the background in which varying degrees of contrast can detract or enhance legibility

The second principle of Gestalt theory is Proximity which occurs when elements are placed close together. Proximity is items that are spatially located near each other seem part of a group; while items that are apart are perceived as separate. Look at the figure a and b below!








In the figure (a), readers are easily to read the words ‘Home’, ‘About’, ‘Discussion Forums’, and ‘Visual Cultures…’ While, in the figure (b), it makes ambiguity for readers to differentiate ‘Home’ and ‘About’ and ‘Discussion Forum’ and Visual Cultures…’. Thus, the law of proximity dictates that items located close together seem part of a group, while items that are not close together are perceived as separate.

SimilarityThe elements that look similar will be perceived as a part of the same form called the law of Similarity. In interactive designs, keeping text, links, and animated elements similar increases the tendency of the reader to believe the objects belong together either physically or conceptually. Additionally, items that move in a similar way, such as expanding links, or animated elements are perceived to belong together. As the picture beside, ‘activities’, ‘learning resources’, and ‘syllabus’ are part of ‘CATEGORIES’. Hence the law of similarity. items that look similar seem to belong together.

 To conclude, understanding gestalt visual laws within the framework of interactive media design provides students with a scientific structure by which they can analyze and visually improve their interactive designs. Skillful application of gestalt can result in web and multimedia designs with stronger compositions that facilitate communication. Figure/ground, proximity, and similarity are the basic principle of Gestalt theory used and implemented in web designs or interactive learning.


Graham, L. (2008). Gestalt theory in interactive media design. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. Artington: University of Texas.


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