Get In Touch

All You Need To Know About Visual Perception and Website Design

Visual Perception

Visual Perception: “90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text.”

“65 percent of people are visual learners, and one of the best ways to drive messages home is through visual content”

Humans are visually oriented.Hugely! The above data helps explain why visual marketing has exploded recently, and visual-centric content such as infographics are have become so popular. Our eyes are one of our primary senses by which we consume information and comprehend the world. Therefore, it only makes sense that website designing is done with visual perception in mind. It not only influences your bounce rate, conversion rates, and average session duration, but it heavily impacts your brand equity too.

“46.1 percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company.”

Creating an effective website design from a visual standpoint is crucial. And, plenty of effort must go into understanding the visual perception and underlying psychology behind “what makes a website look good?” Here are some ways that visual perception applies to web design and some specific principles you can apply for an optimal UX.

Create Strong Visual Perception Hierarchies That Offer Clear Guidance

As soon as someone lands on your website, your goal is to guide them through a journey that ultimately turns  into a conversion. To accomplish this from a design perspective, it’s essential to create a visual hierarchy. The aim of a web designer is to rank the various elements of a site in terms of importance as it relates to meeting your business objective.

For instance, the focal point of a homepage might be a large image to instantly capture a visitor’s attention. This might be followed by a headline stating what’s being offered and then a well placed CTA for visitors to click on. The key here is to rank the elements of your site according to their importance and arrange them in a way that walks your visitors through in a frictionless way.

Remember The F-shape Pattern

Multiple eye tracking studies using heatmaps found a common trend in the way that people view website content. By and large, eye movement follows a distinct F-shaped pattern.

One of the more notable studies done on this subject came from Nielsen Norman Group back in 2006.

Visual Perception Studies

The first page on the left is the “about us” section of a website. The middle page is a product page of an Ecommerce site. The third page on the right is a SERP. As you can see, there’s a discernible pattern that arises between all three types of page. While the F-shaped pattern is most prominent on the product page of an Ecommerce site or SERP, it’s clear that other types of content are digested in a similar manner.

Optimal desktop user experience can often be achieved by structuring your page layout following this principle in order to direct a visitor’s attention.

Humans Spot Contrast

Human eyes are naturally drawn towards contrast. The most effective ways to get eyeballs to your intended focal point is to create contrast. It’s one of the principles of Gestalt Theory, which “attempts to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied.” The other principles include proximity, similarity, multi-stability, continuity, and closure. Spotting contrast is what we do as humans. So when it comes to getting visitors to take notice of key elements on your website, it’s obviously beneficial to create contrast.

White Space Is Crucial For Visual Perception

White space or “negative space” is the area between objects. It’s the empty space that separates graphics, text, headers, columns, etc. While it may seem insignificant, white space actually plays an integral role and greatly impacts the overall aesthetics of a site. If you really think about it, it’s the white space that enables objects to exist in the first place.

A cardinal sin that’s committed quite frequently is overloading a website with excessive objects to the point that it looks clunky and saturated. You can think of it as digital maximalism. While loading a site up with more “stuff” may seem like an effective way to grab the user’s attention, this is generally regarded as an ineffective practice. That’s because this tends to be distracting and can overwhelm the visitor to the point of cognitive overload occurring.

Golden Ratio Can Optimize Aesthetics

The concept of the golden ratio goes back well over 2,000 years and has been studied by everyone from Plato and Euclid to modern day mathematicians such as Roger Penrose. To put it very simply, the golden ratio is 1.618. Also known as divine proportions, it’s a ratio where elements are proportioned in a way that they’re aesthetically pleasing to human eyes. It’s a phenomenon seen all throughout the natural world. And interestingly enough, it can also be applied to web design. 

Golden Ratio For Visual Perception


Visual perception as it relates to website design is incredibly complex and multifaceted. What’s amazing is that the principles covered here are only a part of what goes into the process. Understanding how people visually perceive content and the underlying psychological processes that take place put you in a position to optimize your site and create the best possible UX. This has its obvious benefits and allows you to maximize conversions and ultimately increase sales. Contact Us to Know More

Get in Touch