For many of us—particularly those who grew up gleaning most of our information from the printed page—current trends in website design create a certain degree of internal discomfort. If I’m paying for online space, I want to make sure I get my money’s worth. To many, that means putting as many messages as possible on that home page so folks don’t miss them.
Funny thing is, if I take that approach, I’ll probably accomplish precisely what I want to avoid.
An outpouring of verbiage is more likely to confuse than enlighten when it comes to web design. Our culture has become more visual at an ever-accelerating rate, and we have been unknowingly retrained. Yes, even those of us in love with the printed word. A colleague of mine recently shared this with me, from blogger Paul Steinbrueck.
“Fifty years ago our big left-brains were content with a newspaper containing 100 percent text. But today our big right-brains dominate message processing. The first impression we get of a website, email, or church newsletter is not what it says but what it looks like. Because the right side of the brain, which is processing the appearance of the message, is closely tied to emotions, we ‘feel’ a communication before we know what it says. That feeling sets the tone for the entire message.”
Fewer words equal more power
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Words are still crucial, but they have to be the right words, and fewer. We can’t rely on written directions to get our online audience through our sites. We have become such visual creatures that we even search for visual markers as we navigate through a web site. Successful web designers think visually, like most of our Web visitors.
The best analogy I can come up with for this is the way I give directions to my wife. “Turn right at the big pine tree, then go past the house with the ugly gold globes on the front. The place you’re looking for is the one on the left with the beautiful hosta garden.” I would never print out turn-by-turn directions and expect her to follow them.
That’s why when we design websites at VistaComm, we put great emphasis on incorporating contextual pictures that draw a navigational map in the heads of online visitors. We utilize words to give context to our images, and provide essential product and service information.
Don’t create a left-brain site for a right-brain world. If you’re wondering where to start, we’d love to talk with you.