Utilizing smart layout techniques can mean a difference between a viewer giving your message a mere passing glance and actually engaging with your content.Luckily, decades of eye tracking research can help us create clean, well-organized digital signage layouts that point the viewers attention to the most important elements of your message. Here we present 5 eye tracking facts that you can consider when creating your next layout.
This seems like a fairly simple concept at first: you tend to notice things that ‘pop’. But what actually makes a visual element stand out? According to Fitts Law, the target’s size and its proximity to your line of sight is directly correlated to how fast you will notice that target. So, the bigger and closer something is the faster you will see it. Many people tend to overlook this fact when designing websites, banners and, yes, even electronic advertisements. So, how can you make use of this law when creating your next layout?
Make sure the elements that you want your audience to focus on the most are the ones that stand out either by taking up more screen real estate or by having a contrasting color compared to the rest of the layout.
All too often we come across digital advertisements, websites, billboards that look good from a purely technical standpoint but do not really grab us with their message. Something just seems…off. In a lot of instances, this is a result of a poor choice of visual assets. There are a lot of things in the environment fighting for the attention span of your viewers – if they don’t see anything in your layout that immediately intrigues them, chances are, you already lost a potential conversion.
A good rule of thumb is to use images that convey exactly what is being said in the written portion of your advertisement. If you are feeling very creative you can even try to come up with an image that grabs the viewers’ attention by telling a story. The viewer will be interested to find out more about the context of the image and will be more inclined to view the rest of your message.
• Generic stock images that only have a tenuous connection to your message.
• Pixilated, low quality images.
• Images of large crowds that do not have a main focus point. People tend to respond better to images of individuals.
We, as human beings, have a natural curiosity to find out what others are looking at. When we see somebody attentively looking in a particular direction we have a natural urge to look there as well. This phenomenon can be cleverly employed in the field of digital advertising. You can use arrows, a person’s gaze or their body position to guide your viewers to the important parts of your digital signage message. Using images of human faces is particularly effective because they make your advertisement more personal.
In 1997, Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group, conducted a study on how people read text on digital screens. The study showed that the reader’s eye is heavily drawn to the left side of the screen. This finding makes a lot of sense considering that people in English speaking countries read from left to right. More specifically, readers tend to first scan the content from left to right at the very top of the screen, then move down slightly, scan horizontally again and finally scan the left side of the page vertically.
How can this be applied to digital signage? Just make sure to place the content you want your users to notice the most on the left side of the screen. Specifically, place it in the top left portion of the screen if it’s something bitesized, such as a logo or a tagline.
Famous graphic designer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, once said,
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Many people tend to think that leaving empty spaces (a.k.a negative spaces) is a waste of screen real estate but that could not be further from the truth. Our eyes instinctively look for visual breaks in between content.
Negative space gives us subtle cues where to look next. If you have too much content and not enough negative space in your layouts then nothing will stand out and the viewer will quickly lose interest. The key to effectively relaying your message is to present the information to your audience in the clearest way possible - ample use of negative space does just that.