As research conducted by Chao Liu and colleagues from Microsoft Research indicated, the average time for a user to leave a website is 10-20 seconds.
Although, if a site manages to dissuade the user from bouncing in this time range, the probability of staying longer tends to rise with every second. Users are commonly aware of the variable quality of online content and distribute their attention on economic basis. A site which brings no value to a newcomer in his/her initial time of 10 seconds will be left and forgotten instantly. Your landing page has to make it clear to the user that he/she’s in the right place of the internet and it’s worth digging. Here are some useful guidelines you should stick to when designing an attention-oriented landing page:
Prioritize your means of persuasion
The above the fold section is the most vital and attention grabbing area of every website. Unlike the lower parts, it doesn’t require any scrolling to see it. Knowing that this is the first thing your user will notice, your landing page has to be able to instantly answer these 3 fundamental questions in the following order:
- What are you offering?
- What makes your offering interesting?
- What should the visitor do next?
What’s not commonly known and used in landing page design is the the fact that attention distribution over particular elements can be measured. We’ve used the tool Attensee to check which elements were the most attention grabbing for respondents looking at VisualWebsiteOptimizer website – this is how the experiment looked. You can see that the majority of participants fixated on the offering element being interested by its size, which is a great indicator of importance when it comes to visual communication.
Get rid of unnecessary attention-grabbers
The great director Krzysztof Kieslowski used to say that every scene in the movie has its purpose, tells us something, namely sends a message to the viewer. People are communicative species and appreciate things which can tell a story. Same goes to websites. De-cluttering your layout from elements which carry no marketing message makes people draw more attention to the messages actually contributing to the AIDA cycle (Attention, Interest, Desire, Act). Please take a look at an example of minimalistic design being used in favor of showing product features. Every element of this page has its purpose and tells us something great about the product.
To sum up, here are three take-aways you should remember when designing a landing page:
- During the initial 10-20 seconds of visitors’ time, the goal of your landing page is to present its offered value instantly. People don’t read websites. People scan websites looking for valuable information. The faster you give it to them, the more probable they will stay to read more and do what you intend them to do (subscribe/sign up/buy).
- Attention distribution over a website can be measured and optimized. With tools like Attensee it is possible to check if the offering element is properly bringing most of users’ attention.
- The attention span of your user is limited, so you should care to make the most of it. Take one more look at your design and get rid of anything which doesn’t have a direct connection to the marketing message you’re trying to send.