Many techniques are available for web designers to use which subliminally direct visitors’ attention towards the page’s goal.
These techniques are very subtle and most of the times visitors will not even notice that they are being directed, and the client for whom the page is being designed probably will not notice them either. The principle of these design strategies is to use visual or graphic elements to subtly direct the page viewer towards the call to action.
Print publications, such as newspapers and magazines, often use these techniques but web designers do not use them as often as they perhaps should. A good and easy way to do this is to have a picture of a person or animal looking in the desired direction, making the viewer look towards that direction too.
Human curiosity naturally makes people look in the same direction as other people. Try an experiment, walk along a street looking up into the sky (do be careful of lamp posts), and see how many other people also look upwards, the results are surprising.
The brain does not consciously process everything that the eyes can see, to do so would cause information overload. The brain filters out unimportant information and concentrates on the important information, which is known as selective attention.
Research has shown that people can easily be distracted by visual information, even when it is irrelevant. Something that is sufficiently attractive will grab the viewer’s attention, even if the viewer would want to ignore irrelevant information. All this suggests that properly designed graphics can direct the viewer’s eye to where the designer wishes to look.
Each person will scan the same design in an individual manner and find different pieces of information more relevant and important. However, humans do have some tendencies in common.
People, who naturally read from left to right will start looking at or reading anything, including a web page design, in the top left corner.
Guide the visitor and increase your conversions
Understanding some fundamental concepts will help any designer to draw visitors’ attention and direct them towards the desired conversion goal.
The conversion goal is the most important element of any landing page. Therefore, the most important thing that the design of a landing page needs to do is to direct and concentrate the viewer’s attention towards the page’s conversion area.
Creating visual cues
Any visitor to any web page needs visual cues to tell them where to go. Designers, who create visual cues, present the site’s structure and content to its best advantage.
These cues are similar to signposts helping viewers to find their way around the site and its content quickly, without getting confused. Otherwise, your visitors will give up and leave the page to find another one that does not confuse them and makes everything easy for them. Here are a few useful tips on creating visual cues.
Design elements that do not act in a similar manner or belong in the same category should not look the same. This may seem a basic rule of web design but it is very easy to forget this especially if a designer is using a content management system that uses ready-built themes.
Good visual cues can include such things as arrows, colors or captions, such visual devices provide quick pointers towards finding data or information. They have also been shown to improve the viewer’s ability to remember what has been seen.
Web designers and developers often use arrows because they are extremely effective, web designers should do so too. Arrows point the route to travel and they direct the attention.
An arrow pointing towards the desired location helps the viewer to filter out irrelevancies and concentrate on where the arrow is pointing towards. It concentrates on the essential, which is the first step in the viewer understanding what it is that s/he is supposed to do.
Arrows and other graphic or visual cues are more understandable than directions that are only in text. They provide an easily understandable structure and intelligible framework for viewers to follow.
In this way, visitors assimilate information much more easily. Arrows should attract attention but they should never be so dominant that they overpower all the other elements on the web page’s design.
Designers can also use color as a means to attract the viewer’s attention and direct the viewer’s eye. Using a contrasting color tells the eye to move, it is a feature that can play a huge role in guiding the eye towards what is important. Color helps humans to organize and categorize information.
The contrasting color must differ sufficiently from the background and any surrounding elements so that the viewer notices it immediately. Designers should also avoid using too many colors in one design because too many colors confuse the viewer. Designers should use color to show key information and to help the viewer to remember, understand and retain that information. Everybody knows that you want to create unique websites, but they also need to convert.
Emphasizing design elements makes them distinctive and gives more opportunities to catch the viewer’s attention. Designers should use degrees of emphasis for the best effect. Emphasizing everything just confuses the viewer. Creating relative emphasis across design elements establishes a hierarchy and structure for the site’s information.
Contrast naturally attracts attention, because people instinctively feel that difference signifies importance. Contrast helps humans recognize shapes, textures, and patterns, and it makes some elements more distinctive than others. Designers can use contrasting sizes, colors, shapes and textures.
In the absence of other contrasts, the relative size of objects tells the eye what is important. Some designers suggest that tonal values give the viewer the greatest visual impact.
Using white space helps to compose and segment a site. It also saves visitors time and mental effort in trying to scan and divide the site, so that they can quickly find the information that they seek.
White space allows designers to move the less important content of a site out of direct sight.
Look at how fintech startups are using white space. They are stellar at this job.
Use images of people
Human brains are specifically wired to detect and recognize human faces; babies recognize the faces of their parents and other family members, as opposed to those of strangers very early in their lives.
Humans are naturally drawn to pictures of people and especially people’s eyes. They also automatically look in the same direction as they see others looking, it is probably an instinctive survival strategy.
Designers wanting to direct a website visitor to look in a particular direction can use an image of a human being or face looking towards that direction. Business consulting software sites to this really well. They’re playing the human card to the maximum. When they’re not exaggerating with charts and graphs, that is.
Designers can guide people through a web page by using design elements to direct viewers as to where they should look next. Position, contrast, movement and other visual cues direct the viewer through the web site.
Doing this makes the page more easily comprehensible and easily digestible, decreasing the possibility of the viewer getting confused by the page and going elsewhere and it directs the viewer towards the call to action.
Try to A/B test everything. And if your audience doesn’t seem impressed by your visual cues, use a more aggressive approach with a popup that presents them a good offer. You should make the most out of every visitor.
Tips for landing pages
The call to action or lead generator needs a little space and a clear font so that it is easily distinguishable.
The primary conversion target should dominate the page; one way to do this is to make the whole landing page a single color with the call to action button being a contrasting color.
The more distinctive the call to action button is the better. A black or white call to action button on a page with lots of black text on a white background will not be very distinctive, a colorful button would be far better.
Converging lines draw viewers towards the important call to action. Triangles are very effective at directing viewers to important things because, like arrows, they are pointed.