Incorporating Directional Cues in Your Web Design to Maximize UX and Boost Conversions

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By | Jan 26, 2016

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One of the top concerns for any web designer is whether their designs will appeal to their users and what they do to enhance user experience. Indeed, user experience means everything as far as web design is concerned. Let’s face it, no sound designer would continue pursuing an online business if no one turned up to read their web content, click their call to action, or fill sign-up forms they provide. Simply put, we all need users for our websites to fulfill their purposes.

For this reason, every designer strives hard to ensure their users get the best possible UX. As such, they employ various tricks and techniques, with one of the most effective being the use of directional cues. And just as the name suggests, directional cues are elements used with an aim to direct users to key sections of a site’s page, most notably the call to actions buttons and the sign-up/subscription forms. In fact, we would be fair to compare these cues to billboards that help to guide users to key points on the website’s page that you wouldn’t want them to miss.

The key purpose of adding directional cues, therefore, is to boost crucial conversions. Let’s, therefore, move straight to learning how including directional cues can help to boost your website’s success!

What Are Directional Cues?

These are pointers added by designers with an aim to direct/guide visitors to a website’s section that’s of importance towards meeting the website’s goal. Directional cues take different shapes and sizes and can be placed in two broad categories;

1. Explicit

These cues are a little more straightforward in their directions, meaning they point out exactly what the user ought to do. Some of the common examples of explicit directional cues include;

  • Arrows
  • Lines
  • Pointing fingers
  • Eyes aligned in the direction of a call to action
  • Curves, etc.

A practical example that best indicates how explicit directional cues are used can be seen on Salesforce’s landing page. Here, you can see how the arrow is used to direct the user to fill the short web form on the page.

2. Implicit Directional Cues

Unlike their explicit counterparts, implicit directional cues are a little subtle and thus easier to go unnoticed. Some of the most commonly used implicit directional cues include;

  • Color
  • Hierarchy
  • Repetition of color, shape and size

An ideal example of the use of implicit directional cue can be seen on Quick Sprout’s homepage ( The entire page has a green background only leaving the box where users are required to enter their site’s URL colored white. The obvious contrast helps draw the user’s attention thereby prompting them to take action as specified.

How To Clarify Page Goals

Every page needs to have a purpose. This might range from prompting users to subscribe to something, sign up, or even make a purchase. As such, when that purpose isn’t clear to the user due to factors such as a jumbled navigation, then the user experience suffers.

In such a scenario, having an evident directional cue might be the ideal solution. As such, introducing cues to such a page helps boost users’ confidence and efficiency thereby eliminating any confusion that might have earlier been caused by poor page design or organization.

How Can You Empower Users With Directional Cues?

Just to give you a clearer picture of how influential directional cues can be, let’s look at this quite interesting study. In a research conducted by Visual Website Optimizer on a page displaying an ad for a product known as Sunsilk Shampoo, it was found out that the number of people that viewed the product was higher when the eyes of the featured model looked in the direction of the bottle than when she was looking straight ahead. Statistically, this translated to a conversion of 84% when the model was looking at the shampoo compared to a measly 6% when she looked straight ahead.

This study is a true indication of what directional cues are capable of enhancing both the user experience as well as boosting conversions. It's, therefore, easy to conclude that user experience is directly proportional to conversion whereby more conversions are recorded when a site improves its user experience. This is largely be attributed to the fact that users can better understand what they’re supposed to do while navigating the site.

For the sake of return visitors that are more likely to convert as compared to new ones, offering an excellent user experience should be top on your priority list. This is because you do not want to lose these type of visitors just because they can’t find the information/product/service they had used on your site the last time they visited. As such, ensure that you’ve provided them easy-to-spot directional cues that enhance their experience while also simplifying their work. By doing this, you increase your chances of getting even more clicks and conversions.

Do not underrate the power of directional cues in web design

So, from now henceforth, try to give more attention to the use of arrows, lines, or any other form of directional cues whenever you’re designing your website or that of your client. Research shows that these elements significantly enhance user experience and consequently page conversion. As such, they not only issue instructions but also offer crucial hints on what the user need to do next. Of course, not all web visitors will observe them, but the fact remains that they all understand their purpose anyway.

In a nutshell, directional cues are some of the essential tools that every designer need to incorporate in their web design projects as part of enhancing user experience. With a great user experience, it becomes easier to increase conversions and consequently make more money with your site.

So, are you having challenges figuring out what to do to improve your website’s user experience? Well, worry no more. 92 West is here to help you solve all your design issues. We are a strategically creative branding, design, and development agency that’s perfectly positioned to guide you in creating landing pages that convert. Need help? A consultation? Great! Give us a call today at 402.620.CODE (2633).

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