By Rachel Anderson
Several studies including a recent one done by Yahoo show that visitors to a site start at the top left corner and move out from there. Here is a chart that illustrates how someone may view a webpage.
The first image supports this next finding pretty well. The eye rests in the lower right-hand corner and this should be the area for calls to action. The Gutenberg Diagram below shows the flow of a page ending in the lower right corner. A person begins viewing a page at the top left, follows it to the top right, then the bottom left and ends in the lower right. These aren’t universals truths, but they are a great starting point.
Here’s an example of what a webpage following this pattern may look like:
It you want to capture and hold your audience’s attention, show them as well as tell them what you want them to understand. A person’s brain when evaluating a product or service prefers visuals to words as the brain can process and understand an image faster than text.
Some things are easier to show examples for than others. Here are steps showing how to carve a pumkin.
*Interesting Side Note: Do you notice your eyes naturally viewing the steps in 1, 3, 2, 4 order? Do you try to self correct and view them 1, 2, 3, 4?
There is almost no better way to capture attention than with a large visual. Pair it with a clean, simple website design and you’ll be an instant hit! Choose photos that are relevant and interesting. Photos that could be considered unnecessary are often ignored or interpreted as clutter. If there are people in your photos, having them face forward will be more inviting and approachable. Also, people who look like everyday normal people draw more attention and are better received than people who look like models. Jakob Nielsen, a web usability expert, conducted an eye-tracking study where he found “A call center ad with model in it on the phone may be a good picture technically, but it will more likely be ignored”.
Highrise is a great example of a site showcasing actual customers and they’re experience with Highrise on the homepage.
When thinking about your web design, it’s important to remember the more subtle things like typography and color. These elements may take a back seat in the beginning but have a significant impact on the overall message of the site and brand. People often try to compensate for incorrect fonts and colors by adding more pictures, copy, and buttons! This leads to a less attractive, overly complex site. Instead, opt for using colors and fonts that communicate your brand. Let them do what they’re best at without adding unnecessary, even deterring features. Here’s a example of just how powerful typography can be.
Rachel Anderson is a Pay Per Click Advertising Strategist at Netmark.com. Off the job she enjoys photography, good food, being outside, and spending time with her husband. Share your thoughts with Rachel on Twitter @gladygirl, Google+ or Facebook- she’d love to hear from you!