Tweet Thread 437


Instead of basing design decisions on some vague notion of aesthetics, we start by considering the way human attention works… and then develop the design around this.

When thinking about Attention Design, patterns are you friend (as always).

The trick is that the patterns are always changing, so you’ve got to pay attention! Example:

When you click on a YouTube link, what do you expect to see?

Obviously, a video!

But there’s a context here—

You expect to see a video FIRST, followed by supplemental information (description) and “other stuff” (comments, links to other videos).

This *specific expectation* matters—YUGELY.

It affects the way people are willing to consume videos elsewhere, like on your website.

Say you want your audience to view a video on your website.

You send an email with a link to this page, and off they go…

If the video does not appear FIRST on that page, it’ll receive far fewer views, and the page will have a much higher bounce rate.

The video must appear first due to *attention conditioning*.

If you tell someone to watch a video and then send them a link…

The expectation is the resulting page will kinda-sorta work like a YouTube page.

If it doesn’t, you’re violating Attention Design.

Conditioning (experience of using internet) leads to expectations, and expectations inform the way we ration our attention.

You can WANT to show your audience everything you’ve got, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to look or listen.

To do that, you’ve got to meet them where they are.

And you do this by delivering content according to the current rules of Attention Design.

It’s funny how everyone designs from the perspective of the ego when the attention of the visitor is what determines everything 🧠

Want a fancy website?


Your visitor doesn’t want to wade through *any* nonsense.

The only reason they’re on your site is because they clicked on a link that made a PROMISE.

Does your site deliver on that promise CLEARLY and IMMEDIATELY?

I don’t care what your website looks like.

It’s not a fucking Picasso. It’s not SUPPOSED to be a Picasso.

It’s a TRANSACTIONAL MEDIUM, kinda like an ATM machine.

It has a specific job; if it does not excel at that job, it’s a failure.