Web Design Eye Contact - Nov 2006

The web is becoming a complex arena with web design for different viewing devices becoming a must have in the latest analysis of web trends.

Web design Sunshine Coast has been analysing the idea of where a visitor might look first on your web home page.

Every time a visitor comes to your website, they take a particular path. Their eyes move in quick motion, hopping from one hotspot to the next. If you don't know how your visitors are traveling, your conversion rates will suffer dramatically.

Your visitors are certainly not reading your website word for word. They are scanning and picking out relevant information that they feel is important.

Fortunately, you can attract your visitors to certain content simply by using smart web design preferably with css & placing it in the right spots.

These simple changes can increase your sales, subscriber sign-ups, and your return on investment.

The headline, for example, is often the first element that people see on your site. To draw people into an article, you must have a compelling headline that speaks directly to your visitors needs and wants.

In fact, a change in the headline on a sales page can produce a 1,900% increase in sales. This is certainly an element that should not be taken lightly.

You might also want to begin your articles with a boldface introductory paragraph. 95 percent of readers view all or part of the introduction when presented with an article to read.

On the Internet, where information abounds and the majority of people are paralysed by information overload, most appreciate the addition of an introductory paragraph that summarises your article.

Once they have come to the actual content, however, how do you get them to continue reading? There are a few formatting issues to keep in mind when designing the layout of your article.

You will definitely need to use short, snappy paragraphs. Research found that shorter paragraphs received twice as many eye fixations as those with longer paragraphs. Read more about web design function here.

Most people also seem to focus on the left side of the page and look for related words that might entice them to read closer. Therefore, you will want to include some important keywords on the left-hand side of the page so that readers can quickly see them out and be pulled further into the material.

You can also encourage your readers to continue reading by using bolding and enticing sub headings.

Font Size

Research discovered that smaller type encourages focused reading rather than scanning. Very interesting. In general, people spend more time focused on small type than large type. The larger type resulted in increased scanning of the page. Of course, you don't want your visitors to be squinting to try and read your text. The key is to find the appropriate balance that will encourage readers to focus on your text more than they scan.

It was also found that underlined headlines discouraged readers from viewing the following text. Overall, visual breaks (such as a line or rule) discourage people from looking at items beyond the break.

Ecommerce Fact Sheet

Web Design Navigation

Navigation at the top of a homepage performs best, meaning that it is seen by the highest percentage of people and looked at for the longest duration. Your navigation is best placed on the top or left side of the page. Why? Simply because this is what people are used to. If you go along with the crowd, people are much more likely to effectively browse your website.


So, what about ads? As you have probably heard, many people ignore ads. The online world has a massive case of banner blindness. However, good placement and design can often improve your results.

For example, we design our websites to include ads in the top and left portions of a homepage as this receive the most attention.

Ads on the right side of the page don't do as well.

In addition, ads that are placed next to important editorial content can really help attract attention to the ads. These ads perform best when they are truly integrated into the actual content of the page.

If you are using images within your advertising, keep the following in mind.

Images receive much more attention if they are larger. For example, a postage-stamp sized image is viewed by 10 percent of the participants while an average sized photo (about 230 pixels wide and deep) will draw the attention of 70 percent of the people.

Clean, clear faces in images attract more eye attention on homepages. So, if you are using small images within your advertisements, you may want to enlarge them a bit if you want people to be drawn to them.

On the other hand, people seem to avoid ads when a visual barrier is placed between the ad and the content.

These breaks can consist of either white space or a border.

Ads that blend into the look and feel of the page draw the most attention. In addition, text ads were also found to receive the most response.

Business marketing

By now, you may be wondering what studies have shown about search engines. Exactly what do people look at when they are presented with a list of search engine results? Well, that is an excellent question and one that has been studied extensively. In web design statistics read how web design statistics allow you to analyse your web page performance.

A joint eye tracking study performed by search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it and eye tracking firm Eyetools has shown that the majority of eye activity during a search happens within a triangle at the top of the search results page.

This area of maximum interest has been referred to as the "golden triangle". The study showed that the top 5 results (ones above the fold) received the most exposure.

Here is a chart showing the organic ranking visibility of the top 10 positions.

Rank 1 – 100%
Rank 2 – 100%
Rank 3 – 100%
Rank 4 – 85%
Rank 5 – 60%
Rank 6 – 50%
Rank 7 – 50%
Rank 8 – 30%
Rank 9 – 30%
Rank 10 – 20%

Side sponsored ads receive significantly less attention. Here is an overview of the visibility of the side sponsored ads based on position:

1 – 50%
2 – 40%
3 – 30%
4 – 20%
5 – 10%
6 – 10%
7 – 10%
8 – 10%

This is largely due to an "F" shaped scan pattern in which the eye tends to travel vertically along the far left side of the results and then scan to the right occasionally if something catches its attention.

These statistics show the importance of ranking well and also of using relevant keywords within your title and description. With a relevant and interesting title and description, you can attract more eyeballs within the search engine results.

As always, keep in mind that the information gleaned from these studies are simply a guide.

Nothing can beat your own testing. If you don't have good content it doesn't matter how good your layout is.

However, by using some simple css web design layout techniques, you can influence the path your visitors take within your website.

Although you can design a web site without knowledge in these areas, it's impossible to design a good site without knowing at least something about SEO - Search Engine Optimisation and copy writing.