Something like this that suggests the golden ratio is indeed appeasing to the eye from a user experience perspective?

Applying Divine Proportion To Your Web Designs

  • 1
    I don't think so. And, in practice, I find it to be abused as a crutch more often than not.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 4:23
  • Agree with DA01. I find it similar to the "rule of thirds" - it's a good way to start thinking about composition, but by no means the only way; and it's certainly not a magic tool that can correct other poor decisions. Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 5:20
  • Have you looked around after being 'inspired' by the smashingMagazine find? Any other sources you have for reference?
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 6:22
  • I think this duplicates an earlier question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/2536/…
    – PhillipW
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


The golden ratio can be seen as a compelling argument for providing a beautiful interface, but by definition it is also a design constraint.

The golden ratio is great for sizing some elements of content in subtle ways that make little other difference, but as a content layout strategy, it belongs with print media where there is static content. It has no place with modern multi-channel media consumption that feeds desktop, tablet, mobile or TV and needs to be flexible, fluid and responsive to cater for all the different display modes.

Twitter put up a picture in their flickr stream that shows #newtwitter (not #newnewtwitter) being designed around the principle of the golden ratio:

enter image description here

So you may say "What could be better validation of using the golden ratio than Twitter using it?" Well, wait a minute - as they point out, your mileage will vary as soon as you go beyond the narrowest view. So they didn't use it as a constraint, they used it as a starting point only.

And that is the key - by all means use it as a guide - a starting point - but don't make it a constraint.

Don't be a slave to the ratio. Design for your content, design for your users.

I wrote more on this topic for another question and included some quotes from an article by Jason Santa Maria


Golden ratio has been used by mankind for centuries.Its use may have started early as with the Egyptians in the design of the pyramids - or atleast they were the first passing the measurable proof.

It also appears in physical proportions of the human body, movements in the stock market and many other aspects of life, love and the universe.

Its validation can appear in hands/eyes of the user when the Golden ratio is utilized in the design. The validation of order and rhythm is seen in Greek buildings on using the Golden ratio. But I cannot pull out any websites that says due to the use of Golden ratio we had got more users or ROI that has pumped up.

The only way this could be done is to do A/B Testing of two designs with and without Golden proportion and clearly find results when using best of design principles.

  • +1 not quite an answer, but good points all the same.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 6:20
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    If you're quoting an external source, you might want to use the quotation markup and cite the source. Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 7:08
  • That is not an answer at all. Even more, you clearly state that you do not have an answer "I cannot pull out any websites that says due to the use of Golden ratio we had got more users or ROI that has pumped up". You then proceed to answer a question that was not asked.
    – ipavlic
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 8:32

The golden ratio isn't specifically about websites, it's a general principle about proportion in design. The best treatment I've seen explaining how it works is in "Design for hackers" () by David Kadavy, where he devotes a chapter to exploring what the golden ratio is, its strengths and limitations, and how it is applied to design in a number of domains.

  • The question was not "what is golden ratio". Perhaps the cited book has something to say about websites? That would be relevant to the question.
    – ipavlic
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 8:33
  • The OP asked about the relevance of the golden ratio to websites; the point I made was that the golden ratio is not just about websites, it's a general design principle, and thus applicable to all design domains with a visual component. To make the point further, the book does cover website design in this context.
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 8:38
  • Peter could you link to the book and possibly quote something from the book? We prefer to have things on the site so that if the source is no longer available in the future, the answer is still useful.
    – Rahul
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 9:25
  • Link added; will add a precis later on, but thought it might help.
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 9:35

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