Where did I want you to look on this page? Clearly I wanted you to look at the start of this article. But my problem is there are other things on the page you might like to look at. So I need a device to help make it more likely that you would look at the start of this article, rather than anywhere else. Hence, the woman on the right. She is looking in this direction providing you with a subconscious signal as to where you ought to look too.
When designing a web page or publishing a blog post you can use pictures in three main ways to get people to move their eyes in the direction you want them to go. For instance, you may want them to notice your “buy now” button or your email newsletter subscribe box. You can use directional elements within images to help improve the likelihood that this happens.
1. Use eyes
Human beings are fixated by eyes. We love them. We gaze into them. We follow their movements. When someone is looking at an object and is clearly interested in it, we become interested too and we want to look at the same thing. You can test this for yourself. Just sit with a group of people and then stare at something in the distance. Before long, they will have joined you and will be looking at it themselves. When using images of people on your website make sure you use pictures where the eyes go in the direction you want visitors to go. All too often I see websites with images of people looking towards the right. This means that the visitor is guided away from the main material. If you want visitors to know what is important on your page, use an image of a person looking in the direction.
2. Use angles
Many pictures have angles in them, such as this image here. The slope is going downwards to the right in this image because it contains words, going left to right. Hence we perceive the item as point to something lower down the page and on the right side. Goodness me…it is pointing your eyes to my “sign up” button. You are aware of that button, but the angle of the picture makes it slightly more obvious to your subconscious. You can find angles in most images – but be sure you notice whether the angle is perceived as going up or down. Words on the image help make it more obvious as to the direction people should go in.
3. Use pointers
Many images contain actual pointers or arrows. There is nothing wrong with literally pointing out the way you want people to look. You can use arrows or pointing fingers. But if I wanted you to notice the social sharing buttons at the bottom of this article I might use an image like this.
Images are clearly a useful way of guiding people around the page, so make the most of them.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+