Can You “Feng Shui” a Website?

Is there such a thing as feng shui (pronounced “feng shway”) for a webpage?

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that governs spatial arrangement and orientation. It relates to patterns of yin and yang (the philosophy of how polar or contrary forces are interdependent in the natural world, i.e. “all things are in harmony and opposition”).  It is an intriguing thought and there is no apparent reason why these ancient philosophies cannot govern effective webpage development.

The Natural Yin and Yang of Web Pages

We could assign some of what appears on a webpage to each of the values so we can examine how a webpage may be more in harmony with the way the natural mind best assimilates information. For example, copy could be thought of as the yang to graphic art’s yin. Also, within copy, answers to questions are the yang to the question’s yin.

Feng Shui of Good Copy

Effective, persuasive copy has its yin and its yang. No yang answer (product benefits) has as much force as when it is coupled with its yin question. The question or objection that grabs the readers’ attention the most will be the one they would ask themselves (in their own words), and not the polished copy you might write.

  • For product testimonials (discussed elsewhere on this blog), they are much more credible when the hesitations are described along with the happy results.
  • For headlines, nothing attracts the mind’s attention like the real questions a person would ask; it is much more effective at gaining attention than to just keep mouthing the benefits.

Feng Shui of Good Graphics

When it comes to the placement of graphics, nowhere is it more important than during the super-quick reading of a web page.  Layout artists must keep in mind that they have about 1/20 of a second to attract the user with a desire to seek out more information.

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When graphics are placed in the channels of the natural eye scanning  movements, and counterbalanced by salient, persuasive copy points, the combination will have a much better chance of winning the holy grail of rewards: the click-through to the sale or lead.

Take the knowledge of the ages, which includes thousands of years of observation of how humans interact with their natural surroundings and strive to meet them half-way, harmoniously.