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#25 - Gestalt Principles: Laws of Proximity, Uniform Connectedness, and Continuation

Sent the October 27th
Author face
Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

The principles of Gestalt

All of you who read me will know the Gestalt laws, or Gestalism, born in Austria and Germany at the beginning of the 20th century by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka.

Gestalt (psychology of form or psychology of configuration) is a set of principles associated with how we perceive patterns or configurations, not individual elements themselves, visualising connections between these and the environment. We will focus this microarticle on three principles of grouping, the law of proximity, uniform connection and good connectedness.

Gestalt proximity law

"Elements that are close to others are perceived as more related than those that are farther away". What this principle tells us is that all the elements that are close form a group with respect to other elements that are far away.

You can differentiate in Google that they form several groups, one being the card on the right with synthesized information of its meaning and another block with the search results themselves on the left.

Uniform Gestalt connectivity

"The elements that are connected by visual properties, such as lines, shapes, colours... are perceived as more related than those that are not". When we pull out a context menu from a button, what element do we usually use to group it? If your answer is none, you'd better be using some resource to create that sense of container. In the example below we use, among other principles, a container that isolates these options from the others.

Gestalt principle of good continuity

"Elements that are organized in a line or curve are perceived as more related than those that are not". Surely you've tried to create a domino effect; once done, did you perceive each domino as an element or did you only think of the whole as an element in itself? The same thing happens in product design, as is typical for menus. We do not scatter all the elements on the screen, but rather we classify, categorize and order, like this menu of types of results (we can see that the law of proximity also applies for the other configuration options (Settings and tools) or the law of uniform connection in the search box and, within this again, the law of proximity, dividing the search and the icons and so on infinitely and beyond.

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