When designing a website, put yourself in the user’s shoes. What you find ineffective in a website is something users will likely find ineffective themselves. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, in 2015, the attention span of humans averaged 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000.
For website designers, this study is significant, in the sense that eight seconds is all you initially have to make site visitors understand your value proposition and convince them to stay on your site. More than that, and the chances of them being distracted skyrockets. So how do you make your website compelling enough to make them not want to leave? Here are some important points to remember when designing the website.
Create a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
In the content-saturated world of the Internet, every opportunity spawns the need to differentiate oneself. Creating a great first impression is key, but making the customer realize that what you offer merits their full attention is equally important.
A value proposition is a primary thing that determines whether users leave or stay on your site. It’s a statement that clearly explains how your product or service solves their pain points, its specific benefits, and why they should buy from you instead of your competitors. Some things to bear in mind when communicating your UVP:
Eye tracking research shows that above-the-fold elements attract the most attention. Eyetrack III studies also found that the upper left of the page is where the eyes often fixate first before going left to right, then further down the page.
While these studies justify why website designers insist on positioning the site’s most important elements above the fold, there is absolutely no reason to cram everything you deem necessary on just this part of the page. You don’t want the top half of your website looking chaotic, or the overall usability of the page undermined.
Users’ attention is more difficult to capture now than it used to, mainly because of the sheer amount of content available on the Internet for them to peruse. That said, the items you include above the fold must communicate a clear and well-defined value proposition, as opposed to cramming what you think is important down users’ throats by littering the area with too many elements. Give them one tidbit of information to digest one at a time, and if they think this information is worth researching more about, they will stay on your page to find out more.
Harnessing the power of visual information is a primary ingredient in connecting with your audience. This is anchored to the fact that our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text.
Add short attention spans into the mix, and the “show, don’t tell” argument becomes all the more compelling. Provide users with visuals like images, graphs, infographics, screenshots and video clips instead of big blocks of text. These allow them to process your message more quickly and retain more valuable information.
Another thing – although effective, adding visuals to your website comes with a caveat: they must support your value proposition and the audience’s perceived expectations. Otherwise, it may call into question your site’s integrity.
As more and more content becomes available online, marketers find it increasingly difficult for their brands to connect. In fact, according to eMarketer, 41% of marketers struggle to come up with conversion-worthy content.
There’s the so-called 10X content, content that, as its name suggests, is 10 times better than what the search engines provide for a certain keyword. If you create content that answers everything a user can possibly ask about a topic, you’re shortening their research time, ultimately creating a positive experience for them. Among the characteristics of 10X content is the melding of aesthetics and utility, as well as providing great visuals while solving your customers’ problems.
A cluttered website is hard on the eyes and confuses the brain. However, adding white space between paragraphs and in the margins has proven to increase comprehension by 20%.
While the layout of a webpage, including white space, may not measurably influence performance, it does influence user satisfaction and experience. Different web design elements affect the moods of users. Positive or negative is entirely up to you.
According to top website designers, having a white space is essential for lead generation because it minimizes confusion and reduces the effort required on the reader’s end, helping them navigate the website easily.
Call To Action (CTA)
Call-to-action buttons should go beyond being attractive and fitting the overall design of the website. After all, their main purpose is to get your visitors to do something, such as download an ebook, sign up for a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter, and so on.
You don’t have to put CTAs above the fold. Rather you can place them in the middle or bottom of the page to avoid being aggressive with visitors. Other suggestions include using action-packed words, such as “try” or “download,” and the first-person speech to increase conversions.
Clarity of CTAs is also extremely important. Their message should explicitly convey what the visitor could expect to accomplish. If users fail to get what you mean, they’ll leave.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)