Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beware Web (Eyes) Designing Opus

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Tapping Into The Visual Stimulus Of Your Web Site Visitors

"Oh, my eyes, my eyes! What an eye sore. Quick, click away! Click away!"

Suddenly I wake up in a cold sweat. What happened. Oh, then I realize: it was just a nightmare.

O.k., I'm not crazy, and no I haven't had this dream before. But think about this: what would you do if you came to a site littered with either tons of different colors, loud pinks, purples, greens and reds mixed incoherently, or more animations and graphics than the rods and cones of your inner eye can possibly absorb? If your like me I simply go "click, bye-bye".

Our visual stimulus is ever more so important on the web than almost anywhere else. Most definitely the internet is about information. But, that information is shown graphically. So, if you want to keep people at your site, first appeal to their visual stimulus.

There are a few guidelines that you should adhere to when designing your site, following known research results on colors that elicit certain psychological responses people. The bottom line is that it is hard enough to market on the internet today, why make it harder by bugging your visitors.

(1) Colors and Their Effect: I prefer blue and white. In general blue seems to elicit a sense of trust and white a sense of purity. Gold, on the other hand is the color of wealth and prosperity, something we are all working towards. So, with respect to general internet marketing, these colors tend to work the best. They are easy on the eyes and don't strike up a sense of danger, such as with the color red. Of course, the colors also depend on purpose of your site. If selling baby items, pink, which represents femininity, and baby blue, representing weakness may work quite well. It depends in part on site content. A high tech site selling electronic components may do better with greys, silvers, and black.

(2) Animations and Banners: Animations are nice, but can take time to load and be distracting. Use them to focus the attention of a visitor. Place them at a single page location, at the center or all at the left side for instance. If you use more than one and they are scattered all over the page, where can you expect your eyes to focus. Yep, you heard right - click, bye, bye.

Banners can also give you problems if there are two many and not well organized. Pay attention to the color design to ensure that it matches your site. Remember, no eye sores here. Overall, banner are known not to have the highest clickthrough rates.

(3) Flash Media: Flash media animations are steadily gaining popularity and many sites are tailoring their start-up page to include large flash animations. Beware. In online home businesses, your primary purpose is content. Only fit in flash where it is strictly meant to guide the visual stimulus to a part of your site. I know, I know, it does look cool. But cool doesn't and never will build sales out of potential prospects.

A few further resources that are of particular interest here are
(1) http://www.internet-marketing-research.net,
(2) http://www.infoplease.com/spot/colors1.html,
(3) http://psychology.about.com/library/weekly/aa031501a.htm.

As a good rule of thumb, if it hurts your eyes, it probably hurts others as well. Keep it simple, professional, easy to look at with color used just in the right place to highlight your content. Content is what will build your home based business. Elicit a visual response from your visitors to drive them to your content.

Written by Dan J. Fry, an independent researcher and owner of http://e-kinetic.com, a site devoted to providing resources for small budget home businesses. He has a PhD in Physics, two daughters and two cats.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous T. Benjamin Larsen said...

Nice post and overall good advise I'd say. By the way, I think grey on black (like on you blog) is nice visually but it is somewhat too low in contrast to read comfortably.

Just a thought...

1:27 AM  

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