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Are Your Designs Attention-Friendly?

We partner with so many great, talented agencies that we don’t have to say much about design. That’s a relief to me, because even though I have plenty of opinions on design, I find it harder to defend them than opinions on other things (and oh yes, I have plenty of those, too) related to what we do. But even though some aspects of design—particularly as it pertains to aesthetics—are subjective, some are objective enough (as far as I can tell) to go on the record about.

Most websites are more complex than they need to be.
We’d create much better websites if we spent more time being critical of the websites we use everyday than trying to emulate them. Think about it: So many of the most popular websites are overloaded with content; you probably use only a very small percentage of it. Other people, like you, use only a small bit but their small bit is different from yours. That’s the strategy the big players take: providing as many opportunities to click as possible in order to serve the largest population of users possible. But if you’re a small player with a more specific niche, you have no such luxury. The leaders can afford to be wrong about design, but the followers can’t. Or, in other words…

Just because we’re used to it doesn’t mean it’s good.
As much as I love Amazon and use it often, I think it’s a perfect example of this principle. It’s a mess of a website, but fixing it could potentially be fatal to Amazon. I wrote an article about this last summer, check it out for more detail…

Stolen attention never stays long; lasting attention must be earned!
So, back to the attention thing. Overloading pages makes sense if you’re trying to grab the attention of a few amidst a massive crowd. Again, keep in mind the numbers that the big websites get. Then think about your numbers. Huge difference, right? You can’t afford to squander user attention. In fact, you’ve got to be very careful with how you earn and keep it. Start with how you design your content pages. As a point of comparison, think about books. If books disrespected attention as much as websites do, they’d probably look like more like websites. Sad but true. Follow that link to learn more about how we can design templates that are attention-friendly…

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