Design Tricks to Hold Your Attention

By  //  December 29, 2021

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We’ve all been there before: all you want to do is check out something online really quickly, and before you know, you have spent more than an hour falling into the rabbit hole called the internet. This is not by accident, because all websites, starting from gambling guides as, that wants you to play cool games, to specialty web shops are designed with only one purpose – to make you stay. 

Design tricks are as old as humankind, and essentially, nothing new. You have probably already been a “victim” of such practices. If you ask Aksel T. Tveit, an online gaming expert from Norway, you have probably already been a “victim” of such practices.

“Ever wondered why all buttons on the sites have a similar design, and why certain colors are used? It is to catch your eye, you silly”, he jokes. According to a 2015 Time article, humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish. But even though this theory has been debunked in the meantime, companies are still giving 100% to keep you focused on their site. 

Why Color is Important?

During our conversation with Aksel, he challenged us to take a trip down memory lane, try to remember websites from the early 2000s, and compare them to what we see today. He isn’t wrong when he is saying, websites have finally learned to utilize color, movement, and music. 

“Ah yes! Remember when every site had music in the background, hysterical color scheme, flashy ads in every corner? No wonder we spend much more time nowadays than we used to”, says the expert. In this day and age, designers use gestalt theory principles, to make sites that are not visually abusive but look harmonic. In short, the human brain sees the site as a whole, and not as a simple set of unique elements, so designers create websites with that in mind. 

Aksel reminds us that companies are more aware of the importance of color symbolism than ever: “Just a decade ago, all payment companies were using pretty much the same color scheme – greys, whites, blues, and other professional-looking shades. Today, they turn to oranges, and yellows, colors that look light and optimistic, evoke positive emotions.” 

Intuitive Design – Key Factor in Keeping Your Attention

And while color has a strong first impact, it is the intuitiveness that keeps us around. If the website is complicated to navigate, and you have to think twice before you click, you will probably leave it. That is why sites experiment with layouts, ads positions, content organization, and tools. 

“Honestly, if I have no idea where to start, I won’t start at all. Like any other Millennial, I have more important things in life, as well as plenty of alternatives to choose from. Websites that have seamless transitions and that captivate you to keep clicking and complete why you came for will always hold customer’s attention for longer”, reveals Aksel. 

An additional factor in this story is also human instincts. The online insider says how we are still, as human beings, primarily hunters. The main difference is we no longer hunt to survive but to be entertained. Modern online consumers run for the latest spectacular information, the best discounts, special offers, and most importantly, the feeling of being acknowledged. 

“Nobody wants to miss out on hot stuff”, notes Aksel and adds, “The fear of missing out is so strong, that news sites look like apocalyptic movies. They surely know how to keep readers’ attention and make them come back. Companies often target our primal instincts and fears, which can be quite intoxicating. I’m not sure if I like that, but there is nothing we can do against it.”