Creating Focal Points in Web Design

It's a well-known fact, web designers have only a few seconds to catch a viewer’s attention before they leave a site. Web surfers want to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, and web design should align with this goal.

We have only a few seconds to catch website visitors’ attention. If web surfers can’t find what they are looking for quickly they leave.

A well designed site should include clear focal points that draw the viewers’ attention to the most valuable sections of the website, to keep their attention and encourage the visitor to stay on the site.

To make a focal point particularly effective, it is best to only have one on a page. In fact, take advantage of the focal point to highlight the single most important thing on any single page. Pick an item to highlight that relates to the goals of the individual site as well as its priorities. It isn’t a crime to have more than one focal point, but be careful not to clutter up the page, confuse the visitor, or forget to distinguish a difference in importance between multiple focal points. On way to assist this is to create a visual hierarchy to denote which focal points are more important than others.

When deciding where to put focal points in your site, it is a good idea to consider what your visitors will see first. For most sites, this is the homepage. However, don’t limit focal points to the homepage only. All of the pages within your website should contain a focal point to highlight the most important aspect on that individual page.

A few rules of thumb to follow in regards to where to put focal points on scrollable pages. Put the focal point above the fold, or in the header. So, that is viewable when someone first lands on the page. On a non-scrollable page there are more opportunities to utilize real estate.

Effective Tactics for Creating Focal Points

  • Typography
    Most websites contain a good amount of text, so utilizing differences in typography can easily change the focal point on the website. Manipulate size, color, spacing and typeface to increase the attention for a certain bit of text. With different typefaces and styles, it is easy to create a focal point hierarchy that is clear, concise and effective, drawing attention to the lines of text in the order you want your visitor to notice them.
  • Illustration
    Illustrative focal points can be extremely effective at engaging an audience, but be careful, because there is a very fine line between attention grabbing and attention diverting. Too complicated, detailed, or sub-par illustrations can cause a visitor to have a negative impression of your site and can promote an image that is not in line with the goals of your website.
    When used effectively, illustration can really accent the focal point on your site and work with your content to promote your message in a way that is beautiful and fun. Illustrations also allow for the hierarchy of focal points by integrating different sections within a single illustration, which can be highlighted by typographic elements.
  • Call to Action Buttons
    Call to action buttons are one of the most popular focal point trends in the industry these days, and there is a good reason why. When call to action buttons are highlighted as a focal point, it not only accentuates goal of the page, but encourages the audience to interact with the page itself by clicking on the button and performing the given action, whether it is signing up for a newsletter, contacting the company, or purchasing an item. Buttons have high visibility, familiarity and descriptive functions. As with most things, though, buttons can be overused, and overuse will decrease the effectiveness of the focal point and call to action statement. Use buttons on websites, but use them wisely.
  • White Space
    Adding white space to a page is a very simple and effective way to draw attention to a specific geographical area of the page, without adding anything. This strategic layout tactic can work particularly well for sites with a minimalist feel. One thing to avoid is using white space in one area, and overcompensating in another area by cramming in too much information. White space needs to be properly balanced in order to be effective.
  • Decoration
    Simple decoration can help when trying to get a certain element to become the focal point of a website. Effects like coloring and positioning in conjunction with other elements can bring attention to where you want it, and divert attention from more unimportant elements. Consider contrast in color when adding decoration to your page and be sure to design a clear point for the eye to rest instead of overwhelming the senses of the viewer. Size and Contrast work in conjunction to help create clear and non competing focal points.

None of these elements listed above are mutually exclusive. When designing your website to include focal points, use multiple devices to help achieve maximum effectiveness in attention grabbing details. Every single website has something to offer its visitors, so use these strategies to make the most out of your web traffic.

For more information on intelligent and effective web design, read our online tutorials. For more personal help, contact our web design experts by calling 919-341-8901 or fill out our inquiry form to get started.