Which one works: horizontal or vertical sites?

There is a huge trend out there on horizontal sites. They look modern, simple and on a first moment the new way to go. Not everything that looks cool works!

But are they the best choice for you?

Here are a few things you should know before deciding which way to go:

Always something to consider is the age of your target market. Remember that some age groups are more resistant to change than others.

In this case we also need to take into consideration some basic human patterns before we make this type of decision. It might seem just a design decision but it is much more than that because it will impact how many people engage with your site and how many leave before doing what they are supposed to do on your site: Buy, read etc.

Our brains like to recognize patterns that have previously led to successful interactions. We produce dopamine which gives us pleasure when we recognize familiar patterns around us.

Our recognition of objects relies mainly on their shapes. In the very early stages of recognition, our perceptual system uses information on the retina to identify the object by primitive features like lines, edges and angles. This helps our primitive brain to make fast decisions.

Our mind tends to complete incomplete shapes and create mental objects even if only a small part of the shape is displayed. Our mind does this by ignoring gaps and completing contour lines to form shapes already represented in our minds.

weight watchers

That is one of the reasons why you should question a horizontal layout : The horizontal box construction implies closure and is a pattern more typical of the bottom of a page.

When we see the closed horizontal structure, we do not look for more information. So we don’t see the rest of the page.

In a study done with heat maps, showed that visitors would scroll 34% less in horizontal site. That is significant when you are looking for engagement. This fact besides the results on your site would also impact how you rank on Google since it has and tracks metrics of engagement.

Engagement means not only sales but also time on site, pages viewed per visit, and so on.

Now, maybe you just changed your site and going back is not an option. What can you do to improve engagement?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Add a down arrow. You can locate the arrow on the lower end of the content block. Make it obvious there is more below.
  2. Add a vertical element or an element in half. This will make the visitor want to scroll down.
  3. Populate the sidebar. This is easy in some WordPress themes.
  4. Use floating arrows. They are a constant reminder to keep going down.
  5. Eliminate boxes and horizontal lines. Rectangular boxes and horizontal lines add a visual indication that the content has ended. Eliminating these will increase probability that visitors will scroll down.

How do You Stand out From Your Competition?

So how do you stand out from your competition? Maybe tell a story with a different twist. Why pound of features and benefits and how great your services or products are when you can captivate attention telling a story. Even better, telling a story with a twist. The moment the brain perceives something as not being “normal” it starts paying attention. Plus our brain is wired for narrative. So tell stories.

Great example of creating contrast from your competition.

How to create contrast in business

The brain likes contrast. It pays attention when there is contrast and like you know attention is currency to the brain. A lot harder to get than you might think at first. Every time you create contrast in your business, you win. How can you create contrast in relation to your competition? Get creative and think out of the box. Here is how one company did:

Contrast in business

Millennials Spend More Time With Digital Than Traditional Media

American Millennials (18-34) spend a slight majority of their weekly media time using digital devices, and are the only generation where digital media consumption exceeds traditional media, details Experian Marketing Services in a new report. But, Millennials share a common trait with their older counterparts: of the various devices available to them, TV still rules, accounting for the single largest share of their total weekly media time.

For Millennials, TV captures about 25 hours of their 67 weekly hours of media time, or about 37% share. By comparison, TV accounts for 42% share of total weekly media time among all adults, with its consumption far higher among older generations.
TV is also the device with the largest reach for each generation, with 97% of all adults watching at least some TV on a weekly basis. While TV maintains significant reach across the generations, the same isn’t true for other devices and media. More than three-quarters – 77% – of Millennials own a smartphone, for example, compared to just 48% of Baby Boomers (50-69) and 16% of Silents (70+).

teenagers online

Narcissists Can Be Manipulated into Caring About the Environment

Although narcissists tend not to care about the societal benefits of pro-environmental activities, their attitudes change if their “green” behaviors are likely to be seen and admired by others, say Iman Naderi of Fairfield University and David Strutton of the University of North Texas. For example, narcissists considered an environmentally friendly laptop computer to be more attractive when they were told it was for use in public, rather than at home (3.7 versus 2.7 on a seven-point scale). Narcissism may be on the rise in the U.S., the researchers say: A nationwide analysis shows that college students’ scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory rose steadily between 1982 and 2009.

SOURCE: Can normal narcissism be managed to promote green product purchases? Investigating a counterintuitive proposition


Should You Approach Your Audience When Giving a Talk? Maybe Not

People feel better about objects and people–whether positive, negative, or neutral–that are seen to be receding rather than approaching, says a team led by Christopher K. Hsee and Yanping Tu of the University of Chicago. For example, research participants viewed a neutral-looking person in a video more positively when he was walking backward away from the camera than when he was walking toward it (3.67 versus 2.70 on a seven-point scale). Approach aversion, which also applies to events in time, may have an evolutionary basis: Humans have developed a tendency to be on guard against stimuli that are approaching, the researchers say.

SOURCE: Approach Aversion: Negative Hedonic Reactions Toward Approaching Stimuli

How the Lucky Get Luckier

In a study of online gamblers, those who had won several bets in a row were found to have a higherchance of winning their next bets, say Juimin Xu and Nigel Harvey of University College London. Losing streaks had the opposite effect, decreasing gamblers’ chances of winning the next bet. The apparent reason is that after winning, gamblers tended to place safer bets, believing (falsely) that they were “due” to lose; losers believed they were due to win and placed riskier bets. The effect was to create good luck for the already lucky and bad luck for the unlucky.


SOURCE: A Self-Fulfilling Fallacy?