Point Visitors in the Right Direction

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You’ve built the perfect website–all the important elements are there to increase online conversions and keep visitors engaged. But are your visitors able to find their way around or are they getting lost? Secondly, are you pointing them in the right direction or are they missing it completely?

Many of us assume that because the important elements are there visitors will automatically see them.  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The first step is to identify the goals of your website: what you want visitors to do while there. Then make those objectives highly visible and prominent.

Keep Eye Flow Simple and Reduce Clutter

All of us have reviewed websites that are cluttered and have no sense of rhyme or reason as to where our eyes should go. In fact, the clutter can give too many choices and can cause us–and others–to shut down from making any choices at all. Keeping a clean and simple user interface is the best approach to guide visitors around a website. And, using points of interest as landmarks will keep your site functioning clearly and guiding a visitor’s eye flow.

The FOWA (Future of Web Apps) website does this well. You’ll notice that even the gentleman serves a purpose in leading the direction in which they’d like visitors to look.


Subtle Arrows Can Have a Powerful Impact

Eye Flow

After you identify what you want visitors to do, you must ensure that they get there. An easy way to do this is to use subtle arrows that guide eye flow. Humans find it extremely difficult not to follow where an arrow is pointing.  But arrows aren’t the only thing that makes them curious. Take for instance the image on the left.

Visitors innately have a need to look where other people are looking. The marketers of this piece knew this very well and put their sign-up box right in the woman’s “line of sight.”

The following image gives a depiction showing that visitors leaned towards reading the copywriting that was in the direct path of the baby’s vision. It also shows that the baby’s chin served as a subtle arrow as well.

This depiction is verified in the following eye tracking image. The areas in red reveal where most eyes were focused. As you’ll notice, much attention is given to the copy that lies in the baby’s “line of sight.”


Now take a look at the following image where the baby is faced forward and not looking at anything. Eyes focused primarily on the baby’s face.  This is because humans have a tendency to study the faces of other humans.


Man pointing to call to action button

The takeaway is this: capitalize on the presence of people coming to your site by having them look directly at the areas where you’d like to draw attention. There are other ways to add subtle arrows to draw attention to points-of-interest. People also find it difficult not to look where someone is pointing as in the image on the left.


Shapes such as triangles can also point your visitors in a specific direction. And can you believe that a winding path or roadway can guide your visitor’s eye flow? People become curious and wonder where the path is leading. Adding your point-of-interest at the end of a path or roadway can also help guide a visitor’s eyes in that direction.

With everything riding on your site’s performance and getting more online conversions be sure to place more attention on where you want your visitors to go. Most web designers fail to use these useful tactics. Once you get visitors to notice and act upon your website goals and objectives, you can expect to see a lift in your conversion rate.

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Marie Dean

Marie Dean has spent the last 10 years enthralled in user research studies and implementing the statistics found into creating better website user experiences. Starting in the field in 2003 with her own ecommerce website, she believes that leaving money on the table is never an option and guides businesses in lifting their conversion rates. She speciallizes in shopping cart optimization and reducing cart abandonment.

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