Controlling the Attention of People on your Website — Digital Psychology review

What do marketers want? We want conversion, more and more of them. We want users to take the actions that we want. We want them to fill that lead form, we want them to purchase that product, we want them to download that E-book. Most of the times people are not taking the desired actions. They come to your site, the beautiful site that you have spent a lot of time designing, they read your professionally written content, they look at all the graphics and still, they don’t press that Purchase button.

Let’s review the whole journey of all the content on your site. You thought that this is the message that needs to be conveyed, You wrote the content/designed the graphics, the Customer read the content and the customer thought what the content was about. All the actions from the customer site happened in milliseconds and Now the thing is just 5% of the original message was conveyed to the customer. You may have gotten the attention of the prospect but you weren’t able to control the attention and he dropped off without making the final decision.

In CXL’s Digital Psychology and Persuasion course, André Morys beautifully explains the process of controlling the attention of your viewers. In this article, I will try to pass on the message to my readers.

The first thing that you need to know about the attention of people is that people can’t control their attention. Attention is affected by certain factors and those factors drive the attention of the people and This attention defines the behaviour of people.

The biggest mistake we marketers make is thinking people want to see cool websites, they want fancy websites, they want great websites, they want a lot of spacing, they want contrast effects, etc etc… Although many of these things do work for some people it doesn’t work for everyone. People want RELEVANCE. They want to see vacation websites with a certain design, When they are visiting a vacation website, they are expecting a set of laid back graphics, etc. If you give them a cluttered design they will bounce off pretty quickly. Now if there is a bank website, People will expect a certain type of design and they will bounce off if they don’t get that design. A dark design will work for Burberry, It will not work for a Bank website.


The human eye is trained to follow change, so when the colour changes rapidly our eye is rapidly attracted towards it. Why do you think all the CTAs are in a darker colour? The most important sections on popular websites are of higher contrast. We have always used brighter CTAs and never thought of why? Most people use them because everyone else is doing so. The reason behind it is the human eye always follows when contrast is changed.

Many people also used colour flashes or related animations on their site to attract and control the attraction of the people but never overdo it. Your website can easily look spammy when you overdo it.

White Space:

Do you remember the early days of the web? The websites looked cluttered and webmasters wanted to show as much info on the home page as much possible. With the development of web design, websites were made more n more clean and UI engineers started to use more and more white space Why? Why are they wasting the real estate of their website with white space?

When you keep the content on your site to the minimum you are making people look at only the relevant stuff. When you overwhelm people with a lot of content, you confuse them and a confused prospect is a customer lost.


We as humans are hard-wired to look at faces and where those faces are looking. Many psychologists have researched the placement of CTAs based on the images of people used on the website and when a face is looking or pointing towards the CTA, The submission rate increases and more eyes are pointed towards the CTA and more attention of the users is controlled.


When something is moving ina static website the attention goes towards it. Many people have overused this too with flashes, moving ads, animated sale icons, etc. Using a simple animation on your CTA can go a long way and has proven to increase the CTR of those CTAs. Overdoing the movement can harm your website even more because your website will look spammy and people will be susceptible to taking the desired action and one other thing, never apply movement to unnecessary stuff, this will take the attention away from your CTA and you will lose customers.

Breaking the Ordinary:

This is dangerous territory. People want to see something different but when they are expecting a certain behaviour and see something that is too much different they will leave the site in a blink.

Apply this with caution and you will be getting a lot of positive feedback, apply positive reinforcement and you will be getting the fruits. Many people have experimented with even changing the text on their CTAs and if done right, this can increase your conversion rate a lot. e-g in a funding website “Fund Now” CTA is a good one but when you replace it with “Save a Live” it can bring in a lot of conversions because now you are reinforcing their motivation and creating an emotional effect with your CTA.

Directional Cues:

As discussed in old articles, our old brain doesn’t want to think. It just wants to make decisions and when someone searches for your CTA, even for some milliseconds it will affect their decision making. Using directional cues to point towards your USP, your tag line, your CTA can direct the attention towards the action and helps you improve the conversion rate.


When we see our name in an email, in a letter or in an app, we will always read it. Even a simple “Hello James” can direct the attention of the user to your content. That’s the reason more n more businesses are using segmentation to personalize email marketing and are getting positive results.