Left-brain vs Right-brain – what matters in Web Design

The tagline for Right Hand Design is “Right-hand web design… for left-brain business”.  Some people love it and “get it” immediately. Others think it’s too obtuse.  And some just don’t understand its significance.  So I’ll attempt to explain it here…

spinning dancer

Have you seen the optical illusion of the silhouetted dancer who spins clockwise or anti-clockwise, supposedly depending on which side of your brain is dominant?  If so, you might have already categorised yourself as a “left-brainer” or “right-brainer”.  (If you haven’t seen it, you can try it out here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_Dancer)


Ok, the spinning dancer is just for fun, but there is a widely-held theory that people exhibit certain characteristics based on which hemisphere of their brain is dominant.  We humans do like to categorise.



  • Left-brain characteristics are rational, logical and analytical.  It’s the intelligent side.
  • Right-brain characteristics are creative, artistic and emotional.  It’s the touchy-feely side.


I’m not saying that either one is “better”, just pointing out there are differences.  (Although, did I mention that right-brainers tend to be disorganised and unreliable…?)  The theory is unproven and it only suggests that one side is dominant, not exclusively in control. The fact is that both sides of the brain are in constant communication, and many tasks are managed from a combination of both sides.


There’s also the (again unproven) idea that left-handed people – who only account for about 10% of the population – are generally right-brain dominant.  And that left-handers are often creative types.


I’m right-handed and very much left-brain dominant, so if we follow the stereotype it would suggest that I’m not going to be good at creative, artistic pursuits.  So what am I doing in Web Design?


cartoonaday.com graphic of brain characteristics

Image thanks to the very creative right-brainer at www.cartoonaday.com


Left-brainers can still create

Truth is that I used to love “doing art”.  As a child, I loved making pretty pictures.  Always colouring between the lines, of course – my perfectionist tendencies started early! I’d get upset if I couldn’t find the right, realistic shade of “skin colour” (there were no blue faces in my pictures, ever – except on Smurfs).  Even in high school I enjoyed Art class.  I didn’t create splashy, abstract, vividly coloured, typically “arty” things, but I scored pretty good marks for sketching realistic images in black and white, sculpting clay into real-life shapes, and painstakingly painting ceramics.


As I grew up other things took priority – finding a job, meeting new friends – and art fell by the wayside.  Can you relate?  Most of us created art early in life, at least until we began to judge our own abilities and started to believe we were no good at it (well, apart from those left-handers).  In reality, we left-brainers can still create if we want to, it’s just not our usual tendency.


Right-brainers are often entrepreneurs

Those lucky creative people with right-brain dominance possess the imagination to come up with new ideas and know intuitively if those ideas will work.  They dream big and can conceptualise the outcome.  They can think fast, present flamboyantly, and get investors and others on-board with their ideas.


But while they’re able to get a business started and drive it forward with pure enthusiasm, it can help to have the calming effect of some left-brain people on their team.  A left-brainer can analyse the right-brainer’s ideas and apply reasoning and logic to what will and won’t work.

Why Left-brainers and Right-brainers should join forces

Combining the two can ensure that a great idea is executed successfully.  The right-brainer comes up with new, fresh ideas to keep the business momentum, while the left-brainer develops the backbone of the business – accounting, marketing, and back-office processes.  The left-brainer is the reliable one – the planner and organiser, who understands priorities and pays attention to all the details.


And that’s where I come in.  A logical-thinking, detailed, reliable Web Designer (with a side order of re-emerging creativity).

Right-hand Web Design for Left-brain Business

It doesn’t matter whether you, as a business owner, are right-brained or left-brained.  If you’re right-brained, as I’ve shown above, you’ll benefit from some left-brain logic when it comes to creating an effective website.  And if you’re left-brained, you’ll appreciate working with someone who can follow your already-well-reasoned ideas and translate them into functionality on your new website.


Either way, what matters is that your left-brained web designer can provide you with more than just an attractive page with pretty pictures.  It will be fast to load, well organised and easy to navigate through so that visitors can find what they’re looking for.  It requires clever communication more than good looks.


Usability studies show that a lot of the “attractive” parts of a website are often considered a nuisance these days.  Think back a few years to the prevalence of fancy Flash landing pages where you needed to select “Skip” if you didn’t want to waste 2 minutes watching them unfold.  (Sometimes Skip wasn’t even an option, prompting some to select X).  Now everyone’s in too much of a hurry and viewers scan pages quickly to find exactly what they’re after rather than lingering on your gorgeous web images.


When looked at from a left-brain perspective, a website is like a set of blocks shuffled around and wrapped with some colour and images to impart a pleasing aesthetic.  [See my post on using colour wisely…] Knowing where to place those blocks and what to put inside them, to make the site work effectively, is a large part of the skill in web design.


The whole “left-brain vs right-brain” thing is a bit of metaphorical fun but choosing a web designer for your business is serious.  Have I convinced you now that you need “Right Hand Design… for left-brain business” ?   Get started by contacting me at http://righthanddesign.com.au/contact-us.html

Author: RobynRHD

I'm a small business web design specialist with interests in social media and other online marketing methods. As my blog intro states: "Steering small businesses in the right direction with what I hope is practical, realistic advice and useful tips, amidst the constantly changing noise and hype. I'd like to help you sort out what you really need and how to go about it." I'm a proud Aussie, living in Sydney, and an avid fan of Column 8 in the Sydney Morning Herald.