High speed and zero cost have become the price of admission for those wanting to capture the consumer’s attention through web design. And our attention is divided enough as we know from those of us who insist on walking, driving, and sleeping while texting. If you look around at other drivers on the road, for example, you will see many people staring at their mobile phones waiting for a red light to turn green. But what is the message for brands?
Anecdotally, we might presume that the consumer who is not quickly satisfied with a web page’s design or content will simply keep looking—and quickly. But research data reinforces this premise.
According to Jakob Nielsen, author of Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability and perhaps the foremost thinker in this area of digital attention, concluded the following in a recent study:
“Users often leave Web pages in 10-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer…”
The message from consumers to brands about web design is clear: I don’t have a ton of time. Give me what I want as soon as possible. And if I can’t find it, I will move on because I know I can find it elsewhere. I’ll just keep looking.
So what are the best ways to be sure that your web design captures your users’ attention quickly? Here are a few ideas:
- Make your web pages visually interesting and engaging.
- Be extremely clear about your message and sharpen it over and over again.
- Think selfishly on behalf of the consumer about what would really provide value.
- Communicate using clear headlines and clear copy points.
- Use white space to direct more attention to your key points.
- Invest in high quality photography. A picture says a thousand words.
- Give users something for nothing. A white paper, a tip sheet, a downloadable guide–to make their lives or their jobs better.
- Include a call to action to sign up for your email marketing newsletter, your Facebook page, etc.
You only have a few seconds to capture your users’ attention using web design. As a quick starter, pull up your company website and ask yourself if it meets the test(s) as described in the bullets above.