Designing for the ‘Attention Poor’ Modern User

People have got limited attention to give. Learn how to best design for the attention bottleneck and better results.

For some reason, creating website headlines throws us into a spin. We want to create something that sounds eloquent and sophisticated, something will hopefully place our brand on a special pedestal in the mind of our prospective customer. In theory, this sounds like a worthy goal and one that would be beneficial to the brand for which its implemented but 9 times out of 10, this approach causes the biggest conversion blocker possible on a website by putting customers off within the first few seconds of their website visit.

Without a doubt the most prevalent problem I find when consulting on client sites is unclear, vague headlines. The beauty of this though is that it is incredibly easy to fix and will make an immediate positive impact on your website user experience.

Why are bad headlines such a big problem?

People are incredibly impatient when browsing the web and as a result, you only have 2 -5 seconds to anchor you brand as a relevant option in the mind of your customer. If the first thing they see is some long-winded/vague excerpt about the core values of your business ethos, you have lost them as they arrive. This is exactly why you need to grab attention at a glance and that means simplifying things as much as you can and touching on what I like to call the 'instant gratification strings' of your visitor.

What makes a headline effective?

An effective headline will help you achieve two very simple, high-in-the-funnel goals:

  1. Grab the attention of your customer and keep them on the page for more than a few seconds. This sounds insignificant but it is key in getting users to engage further with your site.
  2. Enable the initial scroll or click from your prospective customer.

For a headline to achieve the above, it needs to be short, clear and direct. Stay away from technical jargon or specific information about your brand. Rather include keywords inline with the needs of your customer, seeing those will make your content resonate and make your customer want to explore further. Remember, early on in their visit your customer has no reason to care about your brand, they are solely focused on what you can do for them.

Early on in their visit, your customers only care about what you can do for them. Keep your headline copy direct, short and inline with the goals or needs that led them to visiting your site in the first place

I cannot emphasize this enough, do not overcomplicate your headlines. Keep them short and focus on key benefits of your product/service to make an impact quickly.

Great examples of website headlines

Without a doubt the best way to start creating better headlines is to look at sites that have done exactly that. Have a look at some of the examples below for inspiration:

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Shortcut Design does a great job of cutting through the clutter and honing in on the key benefit they offer to their customers. Anyone struggling with their current project management platform should instantly resonate with 'we make project management a joy' within seconds of landing on the site.

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Weekrise gets straight to the point with their headline. they haven't tried to provide too much detail or fancy language, they merely reemphasize what makes their product great in one concise statement.

We could go on all day here with strong examples. If you would like to look at a whole lot of them for inspiration, head over to my UI Library.

Wrapping up

The headline is your greeting handshake with your potential customer. To make an impact on your potential customer, it needs to communicate the clear benefit you are able to offer to them. Stay away from vague, long winded statements and get straight to the point.

Want me to take a look at your Homepage headline? Send me an email with your website domain and I will give you a free 5 minute analysis!