Simply put, the amount of information delivered to consumers today far exceeds the amount we can process. The sum of media delivered daily will exceed 74 gigabytes in 2015. As the number of simultaneous media streams increases, our multi-tasking behaviors increase as well. This causes a great deal of content to assume a secondary role, often being pushed into the background. In this competitive consumption environment, successful content marketing must effectively disrupt another task and also maintain attention. Only truly striking and persuasive content can emerge and become the dominant stream in a multi-stream world.
In this age of divided attention and simultaneous stimuli, achieving successful content engagement relies on more than interesting facts and useful advice. It also depends on good design.
Compelling design is absolutely vital to content success, but is often neglected. All design elements have some measure of influence on how well a piece of content achieves the following:
- Seizing the audience’s attention
- Maintaining engagement
- Eliciting emotions
- Delivering a positive consumption experience
- Can be easily scanned, understood and remembered
You don’t need to be an InDesign wiz in order to create compelling design (but it certainly helps). Here are 3 design tips anyone can put to use to attract and seize the attention of readers.
- Encourage “F” pattern scanning: Studies have shown that people read differently on the web as opposed to how they read a book, for instance. Most people scan rather than read, and more often than not, their eyes read web content in an “F” pattern. Viewers only read below the threshold if they are adequately entertained by the part of the page that is visible.
- Convey the arc of your story promptly. Text and visuals should be arranged so that universal eye patterns identify them. Headings, subheadings and leading sentences must present the essential content and act as a condensed storytelling arc. Typeface clarity and readability must be quality assured at first glance.
- Use visual shorthand. Images, especially moving images, are quickly registered by the brain and should be used to garner attention. Studies suggest that the human brain takes only about 13 milliseconds to identify and determine meaning from a visual cue. Visuals in today’s multi-tasking world are absolutely essential. Visual shorthand is taking on a predominant role in content creation. These include ubiquitous icons, signs and symbols that serve as tools for visual content.