The right side is the wrong side
By Mark MacDonald

Share this article:  

A few years ago, I traveled to the Turks and Caicos Islands. After flying, I was picked up by a limousine to take me to my client's location.

INDUSTRY PULSE

Does your website put important content on the right?
  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No

I was so glad I didn't drive that first day. Because it's a British overseas territory, everyone drove on the left side of the street (most of the roads were two-way traffic). When it came to traffic circles, I felt like we were rotating in the wrong direction and practically jumped out of my seat thinking we were going to be hit with cars entering the circle.

Everything seemed wrong.

Have you ever picked up a newspaper anywhere in America and needed instructions for using it? Probably not. We all know the "normal," because the normal is consistent. It's the paradigm.

My sister used to work for a bank. In her training she inquired about counterfeit bills. Would she receive training so she'll be able to identify one if it crossed her desk? The bank manager informed her that "you'll get to know the feel of genuine bills so well that, when a fake one crosses your fingertips, you'll know that something's wrong."

Something will just feel wrong.

We've all become so used to well-designed, professional websites as we peruse the Internet. We subconsciously know what "feels" right on a website and what we don't like. This is Web paradigm — the norm of most websites.

Your organization's website will not be your audience's favorite website. You won't change paradigm with it — no matter how much you try. Therefore, you need to fit into the Web paradigm or you'll feel wrong to people who click on your site.

An interesting component of Web paradigm is where most ads are placed on a page — on the right side. And most people don't go to websites to "discover" ads. So ads often take on the disguise of photos and content that doesn't look like ads. We've all been tricked to click on those areas so we've become scared of the right side of the page.

Most people avoid the right side of a website. The right side is now the wrong side.

The wrong side to list anything that's incredibly important. Times, directions, schedules, events, etc. Or anything that can look like an ad. Photos, clever graphics, etc.

Please stop putting this important content on the right side of your website. Or be really clever in getting people to discover information there. And yes, some other paradigms allow for some information to be in the upper right corner. The exceptions to the rules are things like search areas, login links, contact us, social media logos.

Mark MacDonald is a blogger, speaker and strategist for PinPointCreative.com. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant through their services, ministries, websites and social media.