In the continuing series on small ways to make your content pop and turn the design of your site into an asset rather than an issue. Today’s little post is going to pose a couple of small things for you to consider, and general rules that you should try to consider when you move things around.
Location, Location, Location:
If you are part of the English speaking world chances are that your eyes naturally flow from left to right and top to bottom when you look at a website, unless you have been reading a ton of Hebrew, or Japanese most people’s eyes travel across a page like this. So where you have the content on the site dictates whether people will act on it first or not at all.
Also web site conventions and operating system conventions dictate people’s behavior as well, you can’t control these but you need to understand where the hot areas of the page are and where you can throw caution to the wind.
Centered content might look awesome.
But is usually only used to provide a visual break in the action. Do this for small graphics, titles and commentary only. If you center the whole paragraph it puts the eye off.
What you are striving for is flow. You want the content to flow across the screen and into the person’s eyeballs, only pausing where you choose them to. If you center the whole paragraph their eyes stutters at the beginning of each line as they try to find their place.
You also want to avoid right justifying text as well for the same reason. Your eyes like a consistent left hand edge to the text block to make reading easier.
Now take these two concepts and extrapolate them onto the site design as a whole. If you have graphics running like Nascar down the one side of your page try to even the width out, the height can vary but as long as they fall in line the eye will flow over them without much attention.
When used properly you can break the flow of text and the flow of the site design when you have a button you want people to act on, survey links, pay now buttons, etc all fit into this category. These action items are meant to fly against the overall design convention of the site to make your eye rest on them. Also this is one area where you can break from your color scheme to gain notice as well. The less often you break the flow the more effective it is when you do it.
The orientation of colors can also have the same effect, consider the three bars above, the stronger color is blue, its darker and has more presence, out of the three bars of color which looks the most natural to you? Most people say the one with blue on the right and white on a left, the white bar in the center doesn’t look too bad but would get old quickly as your eye isn’t sure where to focus.
And the last little tip I’ll leave here concerns large blocks of text, even in article where there isn’t a graphic component try to break the flow of the paragraphs into small ideological chucks or most people will gloss over the content.
In the next post we’ll take a look at some common mistakes and generalizations for graphic element composition and construction.
What are we doing here?
We’re going to be putting out some articles in the next couple of weeks to hopefully give you little bits of information on how to make your blog not only readable, but nice looking as well. Readability is key in my book, and this article is no slam on any blog in particular nor should you change what you are doing just because it might bend or break a suggestion I put here. As always this article is open for discussion below so feel free to rip or praise as you see fit.