How to Use Design to Guide the Eyes

I attended a fantastic little seminar last week entitled “Conversion Optimization: The Human Side of Conversion” presented by Ivan Imhoff. The entire presentation guided us through the conversion process within the context of user expectations, and went into detail on landing pages and elements of web pages that need to be tested and optimized.

One topic in the seminar that I found interesting started something like this, “Design is a tool.” The designers in the room fell silent, some deeply offended. “If you don’t have the right script, design does not matter. Design by itself does not sell.”

I like this concept, and the examples that followed. When thinking about a landing page, the page that someone lands on from an ad, think about design as a way to guide the visitor’s eyes to where you want them to look. But start with the text, and build the design around the message.

You’ll likely have a headline that presents the product you’re selling, and a sub-heading that puts it in context or presents a deal. Then you’ll likely have a product shot and description where you will present your value proposition. You might then have a call to action with an added incentive, like free shipping or a time sensitive offer.

Once you have it all spelled out, then you can think about the design of the page. Guide the eyes from the headline to the sub-head to the product info to the call to action. Make it simple, and logical. Do not add roadblocks or distractions that take the eyes away from that logical progression.

Design is a tool.