Information isn’t picky: Anyone, anything, or anybody can be a part of it anytime, anywhere, and by any means possible. Attention on the other hand, is finite; we only have so much of it, and in these information-overloaded days, we have to be careful how – and where – we deploy it. In online marketing, a web page only has between 3 and 5 seconds to successfully communicate its intentions – and capture attention – before a user will leave the page or explore further.
This is why EyeQuant is focussing on something we like to call attention-driven design. Simply put, we help designers to build web pages that focus on where and how users are directing their most valuable commodity: Attention.
Understanding User Attention
Designing for user attention can be broken down into a few key categories:
1) Making the 3W’s Visible – Within the first second of arriving on a landing page, does the user understand what the page is about, why they are there, and where they should go next?
The 3W’s form a basic structure of what information your landing page should hold:
- What your offer is about.
- Why your offer is great – and different from your competition.
- Where a user can go next to learn more, otherwise known as you Call-to-Action.
When the 3W’s are effectively in place so that a user sees them immediately upon arrival, a user will feel as if they are being communicated to directly, honestly, and efficiently – leading to improved click-through and conversion rates.
2) Focus & Flow – Is the visual path that the user’s eyes take through the web page fluid and coherent? An essential part of designing for attention is to understand that a user will feel more at ease on a landing page or website when their eyes aren’t bouncing from one location to another.
3) Brand Recognition – Is your branding straightforward and recognizable, but not distracting from your offer? Brand awareness – conveyed through a unique use of color, typography, logos, and even mascots – makes a company recognizable and trustworthy, and it is important that this identity is holistically present on a web page. In online marketing and sales, a user’s gaze must be aware of branding from their first moments of arriving on a landing page. If the 3W’s are the door, the chair, and the table in a room, a company’s brand identity should be the paint and the pictures on the wall, defining the atmosphere but never distracting from the contents of the room.
Attention-driven design isn’t just about designing for the first few seconds of contact with a user. The real success of a landing page lies in its ability to maintain and guide a user’s attention in an engaging, even surprising manner from start to CTA. After all, designing for attention isn’t merely a matter of pushing out as much content as quickly as possible, it is about finding ways to stimulate user experience by offering interactive and understandable visual pathways.
Image credit: Herbert Bayer, Diagram of extended vision in exhibition presentation, 1930