A few weeks ago I watched a video from WordCamp Los Angeles in which Lisa Luciano compared web design to body language. I thought it was a great metaphor for design and I’ve been thinking about the connection ever since.
The video is 5 minutes long and I think worth watching. It isn’t specifically about design as body language, though it’s still good. Heather even mentions the idea of designing with an inverted pyramid, something I talked about not too long ago.
What is Body Language?
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication. How we hold our posture or a facial expression we make, communicates a lot of information.
Many would suggest that the majority of communication between people meeting face-to-face is done non-verbally through body language. Aware of it or not we do react to body language even in robots.
This communication is usually sent and received subconsciously. Most people aren’t leaning one way or another or crossing and uncrossing their arms as a way to consciously communicate. In many ways body language is a window into what you’re thinking.
The non-verbal communication of body language sets the context for verbal communication. It builds the frame within which we interpret the verbal.
For example say an old friend you meet on the street says she’ll give you a call. If she gives you a hug while saying it, you probably believe she’ll call. If she says it as she’s quickly hurrying away, the likely interpretation is that you aren’t going to hear from her.