Point people to the right place on your web page

Looking down

Newspaper and magazine designers have known about this “trick” for years, yet websites often do not use it. The “trick” is to force your readers to certain parts of a page by using directional movement in pictures. So, when you look at the front page of a newspaper there will often be implied movement in the picture – the eyes of the person pictured looking towards the main headline, making you read it. Then there may be another image which effectively points towards the bottom right corner of the page, helping you want to turn the page. Most of the time, magazine and newspaper designers will choose images and place them on the page to help direct you to read certain things.

Online, however, many web pages have images which – for instance – “look out” to the side, making readers much less interested in what’s on offer. Those designers who have realised you can make people visit certain parts of the page appear to have chosen the use of arrows to do the job. Indeed, you can buy all sorts of “internet marketing graphics” in order help you have the correct website “furniture”. These include arrows pointing to the “buy now” button and boxes with pointed sides leading your readers in a certain direction.

But new research shows that these are much less useful than we might think. Researchers compared the use of arrows with pointed fingers and eyes looking in a certain direction. And, you guessed it, the arrows were much less powerful in forcing people to go in a particular direction than a pointed finger or eyes looking in a particular way.

This suggests that if your website uses arrows to signal where the “buy now” button is, or that your boxes have directional signs in them, you’re getting less success than if you use fingers and eyes.

It is a further signal to website owners that the more you “humanise” your website, the more engagement you get. Pictures of people are always more interesting to your visitors than pictures of things.

1 thought on “Point people to the right place on your web page”

  1. Hi Graham, how obvious when you say it like that but it’s certainly an aspect I’d overlooked! And your choice of picture at the top of the post really makes the point clear. I’m really enjoying exploring this psychological exploration of the internet. Thanks for your insights.

Comments are closed.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

man searching
Internet Marketing Articles

Can you find what you are looking for?

If you want to increase your sales, your business needs to make it easy to find everything. That means reviewing how your web search works. It suggests you might need to reconsider the navigation structure of your website. It might even mean you need to distribute your content away from your site and have it on a variety of different platforms.

Read More »
Empty football stadium with no supporters
Internet Psychology

How well supported are you at work?

Yesterday I was transported back in time. I haven’t discovered time travel. Instead, my mind quickly flipped back to a meeting about three years ago that involved the same group of people. I noticed how

Read More »
Man using digital technology
Internet Psychology

Are you obsessed with digital?

Being obsessed with digital could take you away from old-school technologies that do the job better. Yet, avoiding technological change can cost your business dearly. How can you get the balance right?

Read More »