Visual content through the lens of neuroscience

Visual content through the lens of neuroscience

I was once very interested in a Khan Academy lecture about the anatomy of the human eye and the specifics of information processing by the brain, which directly affects perception. I thought about how correctly we create visual content and revisited our approaches to the structure of layouts taking into account anatomy. And I came to the conclusion that the most successful and successful examples of what we did were created precisely taking into account the mechanics of processing visual information by the brain. This concept is universal, and its application goes far beyond one or two layouts or a website, it applies to all visual materials, if we want to be perceived and understood by our clients.

Due to some strange anatomy of the human eye, it becomes very important where (right or left) we place certain objects. I'll save you most of the unnecessary medical terminology and details, but the basic process is pretty fun. It is well known that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. But the eyes are completely different.

Information from the right visual field is processed by the left hemisphere of the brain, regardless of which eye is receiving the information. This allows us to focus both eyes on something on the right, and reach out and grab it with our right hand - all with the help of the left hemisphere. It is very effective. Try this experiment:

  • Point your nose straight ahead;
  • Looking forward, turn your eyes to the right and look at the object;
  • Extend your left hand to pick it up;
  • Switch sides and repeat.

It's a little harder to accurately use the opposite hand, isn't it? Here's a diagram of how the eyes and brain work together to achieve this:

The back of each eye is split into two sides. They are called the nasal and temporal sides, respectively. So anyone who called you bespectacled in grade school was partly right - but it had nothing to do with your glasses. They were "bespectacled" just like you. Any rays of light that hit the nasal retina travel down the optic nerve, cross the optic chiasm (the intersection of the optic nerves), and travel to the other side of the brain for processing. However, the rays of light hitting the temporal side remain on the same side of the brain. Follow the green path in the diagram as an example. You can see that information from the right visual field will be processed by the left side of the brain - no matter which eye is receiving the information.

So, when we place information objects on any layout, we must divide it into conditionally right and left margins to accommodate the information corresponding to the perception of the brain. In doing so, we must remember a few basic rules.

The right visual field is processed by the left hemisphere

The left hemisphere is dominant in the perception of language, text and numbers, logical calculations, any data that requires reading and analytical processing. The left hemisphere is also responsible for recognizing humor, puns, and puns. Surprise and hyperbole are a violation of logic. Language and logic are primarily functions of the left hemisphere. So, in the right visual field we place: numbers, text, references to logic, details and essence of the proposal, infographics, drawings, and so on.

The left visual field is processed by the right hemisphere

Emotions are processed (not exclusively, but primarily) by the right hemisphere of the brain. In the left visual field, we place: faces, vivid images, appeals to emotions, aesthetically pleasing images, and the like.

If you want your marketing messages to be effectively delivered through any visual media, then place appeals to logic in their right visual field and appeals to emotion in their left. Websites, social media advertisements, TV commercials, live presentations, print layouts, billboards and more all have the potential to be designed more effectively with this fact of human biology in mind.

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