Designing content that gets seen

Anthony Deal
Anthony Deal

A delve into one of our creative minds to expose the thought processes that are needed to make a great design where the content gets noticed.

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Sometimes a particular approach to web design leaves us with a project that has key areas going straight over our audience’s heads. So how can we adopt a best practise that makes sure the majority of our content isn’t missed out?

I remember designing pages that had to include as much content as possible above that fold line. It was a common misconception that most users would only click through the site once they land on it, however we are very much a world of scrollers now. I’ve thrown that old mindset away as scrolling is so intuitive now and it’s become very much a part of my design practise. We do still need to prompt the user to scroll, never forget about that.

A study from the Nielsen Norman Group advocated that we don’t actually scroll very far down the page if it just doesn’t grip our interest from the offset

A little nudge to that scroll action goes a long way in terms of guiding your user through the site.

“users spent about 57% of their page-viewing time above the fold. 74% of the viewing time was spent in the first two screenfuls.”Nielsen Norman Group

Take my hand…

Lets consider the use of minimalism and a lot of negative space, you may end up with a false page bottom due to the amount of blank space you have where the user says to themselves “nice lets move on from here”. Originally you might have thought to yourself that this offers a nice distraction-free space to highlight the key strapline and campaign hero image, this is true but never forget that cue that the user needs for that important content below the fold.

Check out this portfolio as it uses a subtle yet effective way of teasing the portions of the content via scrolling with animations to engage the user down the page. The animation transitions flag the categories of content that you’re passing through from one to the next.

Don’t be afraid to use random graphics or text as cues, this isn’t as blunt as using an arrow. Here is how Land Life Company used a single line to indicate the journey for the user to the bottom of the page.

You might be thinking that most call to actions are links to other pages or forms, however most designers nowadays are using them to pull content towards the user sitting on the same page. We typically call these scroll to page anchor animations and they’re perfect for single page designs.

Animating your content

This site for a music festival is one of the coolest pages I’ve ever seen purely due to how it animates its content. The site truly harnesses the power of animated content blocks to showcase the key information and get the user to the enormous ticket call to action at the bottom of the screen. Take a look for yourself.    

You might have already heard of the word “parallax” used in the web design world, that’s because its been used so much now. It has the ability to bring a flat web design to life with an artificial sense of depth and space. It looks like a layered environment with text and graphics passing over each other, giving the visitor a fun scrolling experience. ESPN has done a great job of creating triggers for scrolling through its content that’s separated out using parallax.

Why guidance is the key

Remember that the design that gives the impression that there is nothing left will come back and bite you. Whenever we have an almost completed design, we ask ourselves is this engaging enough to get the user to the finishing line? The guideposts and cues to the user are the key to showing off your creativity. It all starts with a user experience that does most of the leg work for you to improve your results. Why not take a look at some of our previous projects and see for yourself?

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