Gestalt and Interaction Design


I remember learning about Gestalt principles in my NYU design class – such simple but exceptionally powerful concepts once you got to understand them – every good designer should keep this in mind when creating. These are extremely valuable principles for interaction design, usability, information architecture, etc.

Here is an excerpt of a good article on Gestalt principles of form perception from

  • Law of proximity – when we perceive a collection of objects, we will see objects close to each other as forming a group.
  • Law of similarity – The law of similarity captures the idea that elements will be grouped perceptually if they are similar to each other.
  • Law of Prägnanz (figure-ground) – … the phenomenon captures the idea that in perceiving a visual field, some objects take a prominent role (the figures) while others recede into the background (the ground). The visual field is thus divided into these two basic parts.
  • Law of symmetry -The law of symmetry captures the idea that when we perceive objects we tend to perceive them as symmetrical shapes that form around their centre. Most objects can be divided in two more or less symmetrical halves and when for example we see two unconnected elements that are symmetrical, we unconsciously integrate them into one coherent object (or percept).
  • Law of closure – we perceptually close up, or complete, objects that are not, in fact, complete

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