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Drawing the Eye

Are there images or other graphic devices on the page that tend to point in a general direction? The eye of the viewer will tend to wander in the direction where images look like they're pointing.

Figure 1 shows a small page with an image and some text. Notice that the face is pointing away from the text. To the untrained eye, it just looks weird.

Figure 1-Something strange here? The face is pointing away from the text.

Now look at Figure 2. The only change is that the image has been flipped horizontally. The face is now pointing toward the text. To the untrained eye, it looks normal.

Figure 2-The face is pointing toward the text.

When a graphical element points away from the major focus of the page, the eye is pulled in different directions at the same time. That feels weird to the viewer. They may not know why, but they will probably look away or just go to another site.

Likewise, are there lines on the page that tend to contain other elements? For example, in Figure 3, notice the dark blue areas that enclose the calendar.

Figure 3-The dark blue lines draw the eye to the calendar.

The dark blue lines form a sort of enclosure around the top-left area of the calendar. This technique takes advantage of the fact that after years of reading books and magazines, most eyes are accustomed to starting at the upper-left part of a page and moving down and right (at least in left-to-right reading cultures). The eye is drawn to the bold blue lines enclosing the calendar. From there, the slightly contrasting colors of the calendar create enough visual weight to draw us the rest of the way into the main feature of the page.

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