Emphasis: A Key Design Element

The design elements are different “tools” or aspects of your website’s design which influence how your viewer will perceive it. Emphasis refers to which pieces of your site draw the most attention.

At first, you may want to emphasize many parts of your WordPress site. You have a snazzy banner, great content, and some links you want to show off. Generally, however, emphasizing all three of these at the same time would be a mistake.

When a viewer enters your site for the first time, they will spend about two seconds digesting the site. You want those two seconds spent on your most effective aspect(s), and that’s just not enough time for the viewer to look at everything. By choosing one or at most two aspects to emphasize, you will draw them to the most important thing first.

This can lead to confusion and frustration over what to emphasize, especially on your landing site. In general, focus on whatever is most “profitable” for your site. Even if your site is just a blog, that means choosing what is going to make you the most “money” in terms of viewer equity. If you are a for-profit enterprise, this doesn’t necessarily mean your paid links either; your most profitable element may very well be your written content. Whatever the viewer is “there for” is your most profitable element.

Methods of emphasizing and deemphasizing relate to how they are portrayed on your WordPress site. Size matters; larger elements will be seen first. Color is important as well, since the flashier or brighter an element the more attention it will draw. This can also mean making your banner or navigation tool less showy. It may be drawing attention from your content, and it can lead your viewer prematurely away from your landing page.

The best way to determine emphasis is to have a friend, or on your own, load your site and spend exactly two seconds on it. Then, turn away. What do you remember? Where did your eyes go? Importantly, where is your mouse cursor now? If you find your site emphasizes the wrong elements, change it up. Make your most important content more prominent, and consider removing extraneous elements.


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