Design Features that Draw Attention

Digital Copywriting and Design

According to Treisman’s study on visual search, there are two ways which people scan for information in a picture.

  • Serial search: Conscious attention is needed to identify object
  • Parallel search: Object automatically “pops-out” at you regardless of whether you are paying attention

Why does one picture require a serial search while the other only needs a parallel search? The reason is that one contains a feature that enables the “pop-out” effect whereas the other does not. When creating visual content, there are four features we can use to ensure the more important information stand out.

1. Size Matters

We all know larger ads are bigger for a reason- they get more attention. Give the most attractive or important information the largest space in your visual.

Bad Jellyfish Poster: Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster's caption. Photo by: Lois Poh

Bad Jellyfish Poster- Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster’s caption.
Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster: Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance. Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster- Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance.
Photo by: Lois Poh

2. Shift Orientation

Our brains are inclined to pick out things that go against the ordinary direction of things. Consider creating a diagonal banner but ensure that it has minimal text on it; people do not want to tilt their heads to read a whole paragraph.

People notice central information, and people notice deviant information

Created by: Lois Poh using Canva

3. Colour Contrasts

If it is not clear in the picture what the focus should be placed on, simply use Fotor Photo Effects and select the “colour splash” effect. The rest of the photo will turn to black and white except for the areas you decide to remain coloured.

A mostly black-and-white wedding shot with a coloured bouquet of flowers.

Screenshot from Fotor Photo Effects Website (22 October 2014)

4. Create Motion

Another way to attract attention is to create moving images. Do not fret if you do not have any animation-creating experience of sorts. You can simply make a photo montage by uploading your photos onto this gif maker site.

Little Man Gif

A Moving Gif Image of a Little Man
Created by: Lois Poh

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The Difference Between Blogs and Websites

Digital Copywriting and Design

Until recently, I have always lumped blogs and websites together as the same thing (except that websites probably require fees for their own domain). During one of my tutorials at school, I gained a revelation about their key differences.

Blogs and Websites Serve Different Purposes

For one, blogs and websites cater to different needs. Shrikanth puts it like this:

  • Blogs are great if you want to create content on a regular basis.
  • Websites are the way to go if you plan on having more timeless information and/or want an online portal with several abilities
  • A website combined with a blog (like this site) is useful if you want to feature constant updates as well as timeless information about your company.

Blogs and Websites Differ in Form

The arrangement and genre of information also differ between blogs and websites. Websites provide us with “official information” from businesses and organisations whereas blogs are part of a discussion.

Blog Form Website Form
Frequently updated More static
Simple site organisation; posts usually arranged in reverse chronological order Complex site navigation; sitemap and breadcrumbs are important
Interactivity mostly related to conversation Interactivity mostly related to e-commerce
Usually written by one contributor Often involves more than one contributor

Blogs and Websites Differ in Style

Websites are styled in a way that strategically constructs a desired impression whereas blogs draw readers in to discover one’s thoughts, experiences, and ideas. These goals are manifested in the following differences.

Blog Style Website Style
Informal and Opinionated Formal and Fact-based
Personal voice Corporate voice
Design and images dependant on blogger’s tastes and mood; tend to be rather ecclectic Often contain a house-style with standard fonts, colours, image styles, and have logo embedded in media items
Filled with text-based posts and enriched with links and multimedia Filled with pages containing crisp and succinct information

If you have decided on a blog, take a look at these 5 blogging tips from the pros. If you have decided on creating a website, check out 26 things to note before developing a website.

Three Simple Ways to Get Google to Notice You

Digital Copywriting and Design

Remember how small your chances were in getting that popular guy/girl’s attention back in high school? Everyone else was swarming around him/her. He/she seemed to have an impenetrable crowd of friends. You were probably just another average kid admiring him/her from afar.

Now, imagine that chance being divided by a thousand and that’s likely to be your chances of getting Google’s attention.

Still, you harbour that cruel glimpse of hope that one day, Google would discover how special your website/blog is and boost you to the first page of relevant results. The situation seems hopeless. To be honest, I can’t promise you first page results. Nonetheless, I present the following infographic which shows three Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to help you seduce traffic to your site.

Get Noticed by Google: 1. Create Good Content (Frequently) 2. Use Existing Popular Content 3. Share Content on Social Media

Infographic: Get Noticed by Google.
Created by: Lois Poh using Piktochart

If you have more tips on how to boost SEO, feel free to comment below.

Writing Digital Copy for Lazy People

Digital Copywriting and Design

Newsflash: That’s almost everybody. A Nielson Norman research shows that web users stay for under a minute on a given web page and read only a quarter of the text. If your article is too long, they most likely didn’t read it. Well, unless it is as interesting as a Harry Potter novel and/or you follow the following strategies.

Too Long, Didn't Read Picture source: djscurvy22

Too Long, Didn’t Read
Picture source: djscurvy22

Keep. It. Short. & Simple.

It is simple math.

An average working person reads 575 words per minute.
÷ An average web page gets slightly less than a minute of attention.
= Try to keep posts under 550 words.

The Inverted Pyramid Structure

The first 10 seconds are critical for users to decide whether they stay or leave. In this 10 seconds, readers view the page in an F-pattern.

First, users read across the top content.  Next, their eyes shift downwards to read across the next segment. Finally, the scan down content on the left side.

F-Shape Pattern For Reading Web Content. Information source: Jakob Nielson

Thus, it is crucial explain what you can offer the reader in your heading (maximum 8 words) and present the most important information in the first paragraph (maximum 25 words). Arrange the rest of the information in descending order of importance.

Chunking and Subheadings

Divide your post logically into chunks and write a subheading above each “chunk”. Your subheading should give your reader an idea of what that “chunk” of information says. Subheadings also help readers to extract specific information and provide a good summary of the article.

Lists and Tables

Here are some things to note when using lists and tables:

  • Numbered lists should be used for rankings and instructions.
  • Bulleted lists should be used for other instances of grouping items.
  • Ideally, unfamiliar lists should be kept to 5-10 pointers.
  • Tables categorises information and is ideal for if/then propositions.
Images and Videos

When relevant, images increases readers’ attention, retention of information, and likelihood of sharing. Consider creating simple infographics with free tools like Piktochart or visual.ly as this would make content more enjoyable to read.