Have you ever wondered HOW your audience reads through your website? Do they read the entire About Us page? Do they even care what you are about? Lets dive into a few details to ensure your website is heading in the right direction.
Here are the real facts. When your audience lands on a page on your website or blog, they don’t read the pages, they scan them. Why? Because they are in a hurry. They no longer stroll at a leisurely pace, they run as fast as they can to their destination. Your audience doesn’t think they need to read everything. For the most part, they are right because there is no direct repercussions from scanning. They feel that they can get the gist of an article just by scanning it. Another reason is that they have become really good at scanning. Today with the fast moving technology; Twitter feeds, facebook stories, LinkedIn updates; information comes at us full speed. The only way to keep up with all this info overload is to scan. A few trigger words that will grab a scanners’ attention are Free, Sale, Sex and their own names.
Your audience doesn’t really figure out how the website works, as long as they can fumble through it, that’s all that matters to them. As long as they find a way that works for them, they stick to that method even though there may be a happier path to take. You can probably get away with building a site where your audience fumbles through it, but that will quickly change when your competition builds a better site which makes the user feel smarter.
Clear Visual Hierarchy
One way of solving for scanning & fumbling viewers is to break up your pages into clearly defined areas. For example:
- What you can do on this website
- Links to top articles
- Stuff this company sells
- Stuff we are eager to sell
- Navigation to the other pages on this site
Make it very obvious what is clickable. If you are displaying a button, the best way is to make a slightly raised graphic with highlights and shadows as visual clues like a real push button. A hover state (image changes when your audience places their mouse over the button) also promotes clicking.
Also don’t forget links. The colour that most web users are familiar with is blue with underline. Of course colour schemes also play a big factor in your overall look and feel of your website. If you must deviate from the standard blue link, make sure the link colour is more attention grabbing than the main body text.
And finally, keep the noise down! Everything is visual noise until proven otherwise. So take out the unnecessary clutter and keep it simple unless you have a really good reason to make a certain element stand out. This will ensure that your audience notices what you intend on them seeing and making the call-to-action.
More Tips on Their Way
In the new year, we will get into writing for the web and user choices. Stay tuned!