Attention-based landing page design

There are three aspects of attention that we as online marketers need to consider:

1.     Grabbing attention (the ad)

2.     Holding attention (the landing page headline)

3.     Focusing attention (the landing page design)

Buzzfeed demonstating their mastery of the art of attention-grabbing online   (c. December 2015)

Buzzfeed demonstating their mastery of the art of attention-grabbing online (c. December 2015)


Oli Gardner from Unbounce has written an excellent e-book on the third aspect: focusing attention, the topic of landing page design, which we dive into here.


Horror Vacui

A phenomenon that deeply afflicts the world of landing page design is horror vacui, which is Latin for fear of leaving empty spaces. This results in overly busy landing page designs with multiple conflicting messages, burying the actual campaign objective.


Attention is a limited mental resource

Our mental energy reserves are diminished with every decision we are forced to make. Each decision adds to our so-called cognitive load.

Obama knows about cognitive load. He reportedly has just two colours of suits, and every proposal that lands on his desk has just three options at the bottom: “yes”, “no” or “let’s discuss”.  This means that his decision making capacity isn’t used up on the hundreds of small decisions that he has to make each day, and when he needs to make a big call, he is able to do so with a clear head.

Obama sporting his two suits

Obama sporting his two suits

It therefore makes sense to minimise the number of decisions we ask visitors to our landing page to make, lest they become bored/tired/confused and leave: sometimes called decision fatigue.


Attention Ratio

The way to minimise decision fatigue on your landing page is to consider the Attention Ratio: things you can do vs things you should do.

The below page has an Attention Ration of 73:1. That is, there are 73 links, buttons and navigation tabs, and one objective: to get people to apply for a quote.

Here’s an example of a landing page with a much healthier Attention Ration of 3:1

Effective landing page.jpg

So, remember, the attention of your potential customers is a precious and limited resource. Use it wisely, and sparingly. Say what you need to say, and nothing else!

Get in touch if you'd like to talk about marketing your business online.