Deliberately Direct Your User’s Gaze: 11 Design Tips for Your Website

Direct your User’s Gaze

Your website is set, it looks good and contains great content, but for some reason visitors still leave it quickly? Among other things that could be due to unfavorable placement of text and images, or the lack of eye-catching design elements. We’ll reveal what you can do to attract your visitor’s eye and direct it systematically.

1. Place Images in Reading Direction

Our first tip is valid for all parts of the world where people read in the direction left to right. When placing images you put them to the left of the text. Why? Well, we left-to-right readers allow our gaze to automatically sweep from left to right. An image grabs our attention more than text. So we look there first and our eyes subsequently glide to the right and read the text next to it.

2. Image First, Then Text

Because most Internet sites are now pulled up on a smartphone, it is recommended that you entice people with an image. The matching text should always appear under it, because people instinctively give the image their attention first. After looking at the photo they then swipe down and read the text.

3. Thick is Chic

What mostly no longer applies for health and fashion, is still true for words: being plump is good. You attract attention and guide gazes to the places that you want to emphasize. In addition you allow the reader to quickly comprehend what the text is about, and to decide if reading it entirely is worth it for him.
Please don’t overdo it: It’s no use to format every word in bold because then the effect is simply lost. These lines alone prove that.

4. Underlining, Italics and More

Other font formatting like italics or underlining also directs the gaze. In addition you can work with a colored font or color highlighting. However the same caution applies here: please only use where it really makes sense.

5. Break Up Text

Use headings and subheadings to structure text and visually break it up. Text like that is more likely to be read than an unending block of words. Do not forget to use short paragraphs either. They also increase the “digestibility” of articles.

6. Keep Contrasts Sharp

Even though photos with a washed out look are trendy right now, the human eye jumps more readily to contrasts. If you want your photos to be seen, then avoid dull contrasts and matte colors.

7. Set it in Motion

Did you know that frogs can only see things that move? That is also somehow anchored in our brains. If something moves, we look at it. Now we are not saying that you should equip your site with moving graphics, but take a closer look at your photos. Is there life in them, movement? Or are they just interior views of an office, devoid of people. Humans are eager and willing to look at images of people and action.

8. Bigger is Indeed Better

Large graphics or titles are also especially good for drawing attention. That old saying is true here too though: less is more. So don’t make every image as large as possible, but instead only those you want to prioritize showing users.

9. Make the Rounds

The digital world is a place of corners and straight lines, so every curvature attracts attention. Draw attention to yourself with round design elements. Why does it always have to be a bar graph? Give a pie chart a try.

10. An Excerpt is More

Very often we try to include as much as possible in a photo. But such images are hardly appealing. Place the focus on one thing in your photos, like maybe a person’s face. By contrast, full body photos are less readily viewed. When it comes to group photos for example, it is recommended that the group is shown from the waist up. Who’s interested in their colleagues’ shoes anyway?

11. Tips, Comments, etc

People like to distract themselves, even when reading. Use this fact and provide your website visitors this distraction right in the text. Incorporate useful tips, interesting comments or other similar things into the dry reading material. You should of course format these differently or emphasize them. In this way the user will feel both entertained and informed.

Do you have any other tips on how to guide your visitors’ attention? Or do you already have some experience with our suggestions? If so, write to us. We look forward to your comments.