In a recent post, I pointed to current trends in search engine optimization. What I did not mention is that the underlying research has lessons to teach professional web designers, too.
Site owners have no say over how their information is presented to consumers by the search engin““““““““““““““`es. But consumers’ interactions with those search engines reveal something about what they should be seeing when they click on the resulting links.
The previous post noted that the top spot on a search engine results page is not as all-important as it used to be. Professional web designers understand that this is because SERPs aren’t as simplistic as they used to be. Ads, video carousels, and sidebar content make for a non-linear visual presentation. And research shows that a viewer’s gaze now tends to follow a non-linear pattern, as well.
More importantly, this is something that web users have actually come to expect. And it’s something that professional web designers can exploit on client sites to make sure visitors acquire information in the preferred order, with the appropriate sense of importance.
There are different ways of achieving this, as any Los Angeles web design company should be able to tell you. But the big picture is that the visual layout of a client’s site needs to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality. Visitors should find it pleasant to look at the things you want them to see.
In this way, you can take advantage of people’s non-linear way of looking at sites on the modern web. “Hero images” can provide a larger-than-life glimpse at the main idea before leading viewers down the page in search of more detailed info. Visual content can be arranged in a hierarchy that allows people to scan, line-by-line, to find what they’re most interested in.
There are various elements that professional web designers can use to amplify this hierarchical presentation. Color, alignment, and typography all have roles to play in dividing up content in a delicate marriage of form and function. And when all such elements are used effectively, you can be confident that your site’s visitors will see what you want them to see, in the way you want them to see it.