It’s common knowledge that users only skim read pages looking for relevant information as opposed to reading word by word. To combat this designers are faced with the task of providing visual cues to not only help guide the user to find the content they need, but also influence them to take action. Visual cues can take many forms:
• Bold text, or the use of colour are commonly used to help highlight important points.
• Page breaks and bullet points help split up content into more digestible chunks for users.
• Images and icons play an important part of conveying messages or grabbing people’s attention.
Using arrows to point out important aspects of a webpage has become an increasingly popular visual cue in web design over the last few years. Directional cues like arrows are usually employed to draw attention to an element of a page that the user can interact with. Many sites are also using arrows to point out the call to actions in a bid to improve conversion rates.
Below are six examples of sites using arrows to influence user behaviour and increase conversions:
Pingdom complements their minimal home page design with an arrow and handwritten text to highlight their call to action. Arrows are often combined with handwritten fonts, as it provides a nice contrast to the uniform typography found on most website. It can also help add a human touch to a website.
CrazyEgg offer variety of web analytics tools to measure user behavior such as heatmaps and scrollmaps, so you would imagine they know a thing or two about how users interact with sites. Their site is full of visual cues and the type that crops up the most is arrows.
In the above example they are using a bold arrow to direct users to their pricing chart. They are also using handwritten text to promote their offer: Try it Free!
Arrows don’t need to be exclusively used to point at call to actions; they can also be very effective at helping users finding the most important content or features on a webpage. Impress utilise arrows throughout their home page to show users elements of the page they can interact with.
Arrows are often found on landing pages which have a very linear conversion path. Intuit’s PPC landing page has been completely stripped of distractions. There are no links on the page other than on the call to action button. The big blue arrow is doing a good job of pointing the user in the right direction. It is also given prominence in the centre of the page.
This example shows that directional cues don’t have to be at the expense of design. Pulp Fingers have added a directional cue in the form of a large arm that fits in with the brand image perfectly.
In this example, Smartr are using an arrow to point out there is more content below the fold. Long vertically scrolling home pages have become increasing popular in recent years and arrows are a good way of letting users know there is more on offer and influencing them to delve deeper into your content.
While arrows can play an important part in directing users and influencing conversions, it’s worth remembering that the problems faced by a site that is an unusable mess aren’t going to be instantly solved by adding directional cues.
Directional cues should always be used to complement user experience. Users won’t just be fooled into converting; they will have to believe in the value of what is on offer.
It’s worth remembering that directional cues work best when used sparingly. Each arrow should have a reason for existing on your site. Don’t just clutter your page with arrows pointing to every bit of content you believe is important. As always, split testing is a great way of figuring out what works best.