In web design, it is important to guide the user’s eye. Without a sense of “flow” a feeling of frustration takes over creating a negative experience. The art of subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, guiding the viewer’s attention is referred to as Precedence.
Since web pages are, for the most part, about the users getting information, how the information is presented is of great importance. There are several ways to do this, namely, position, contrast & color, size and design elements.
It is a known fact that the upper left corner of the page is the most frequently viewed. Our attention generally radiates off from there in horizontal and vertical scans. The average of these, as shown on a graph, forms a fuzzy triangle with the most active area in the upper left. Where we put our elements of information on the page clearly make a difference on the attention they get.
Contrast & Color
When planning your color scheme, be sure to include colors for getting attention as well colors of a subtle nature. Using these properly you can influence which information is highlighted or treated as supplementary. Foreground and background can make a huge difference in how much attention an element gets. Be sure to create high contrast for items of importance and low contrast for information that you do not place as much importance on.
It’s pretty simple, really. Bigger gets more attention.
Graphics can really play an effective role in directing attention where it belongs. Do not get overly complicated about this, though. For example, if there is a huge red arrow pointing at an element on the page, that is where the user will look!
As simple as all this sounds. Learning to use it wisely is an art. Harmonizing these principles with the theme of the site design may often prove challenging. So, from time to time it is good to review the basics and make sure we always improving and learning best practices of web site design.