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Can Your Website Hook in The First 5 Seconds? Here’s 12 Areas to Concentrate On

 In Design, UI, Web Design

Designer is a vague term when it comes to digital nowadays. We like to use the terms user interaction(UI) designer and/or user experience (UX) designer.

No decision is ever a small decision when embarking on user interface/user experience project. UI/UX designers need to understand that they have to be involved in the project at all phases because interaction is what we are all building for. From content, layout, creatives, visuals, animations, and all the way down to mobile – each piece absorbs an interaction, even if it’s just a quick glance. That quick glance can make or break a visitors overall perception of your digital environment. Treat each tiny part as its own unique puzzle piece that makes up a greater overall perception.

Let’s dig in …

1) Did I design in alignment with our company and brand style guide?

branding creative guide

You’ve worked so hard to get that visitor to your page but if you don’t have a clear brand identity with a professional interface and logo design then you’re cutting yourself short. The minds first perception before it takes in page content is elegance and professionalism. We know elegance when we see it, which builds the foundation of trust immediately. Design your layouts in line with your company’s style guide taking into account colors, tone, verbiage, imagery, subliminal brand messaging and whatever else is included in your style guide. If you don’t have a style guide you should think about creating one to keep your brand in line. Here’s our company style guide if you’re curious.

2) Can the user scan the information quickly and get the answers they need?

scan info on a page effectively

It seems like a lot to pack into a small space but if you do it correctly it can pay off big time. The user needs to know what you offer that nobody else does/can, what are the prices (if you offer that info), and can they contact you quickly if need be. These are just some of the things users WANT to see first (subconsciously). Before designing, its always best to come up with questions someone would ask when coming to your site – then design around those questions.

3) Do my most important calls-to-action get the attention they need?

create effective calls to action websites

It’s always a good idea to have your most widely sought user actions on your website be shown in a different or enhanced manner than the rest of your headings and content. Some will say that you set aside a certain color just for your primary buttons and calls-to-action to bring more attention to them.

4) Am I using headers and short blocks of text effectively?

using heading text effectively on web and elearning

It’s no secret that using your header text in the right way helps bring the attention to areas you want. It also helps with SEO for web design projects. Like we said before in #2 about being able to scan info quickly – your use of headers play a vital role in that. Your headers must be consistent in size and use dialog. Text blocks are normally used under headers to provide a little more information to what’s being mentioned. They are usually followed with a link or button to “Discover More”, “Shop Now”, or “Contact Us For More Info”. Be unique in your headings and text blocks. Develop a dialog in how you speak throughout your website. That dialog will mostly be used in these areas opposed to basic paragraphs and sentences so spend time on the tone of your brand and how you speak to viewers. Some may use story-telling, comedy, or follow a certain theme.

5) How will it transpire for a mobile/tablet viewer?

Mobile apps and responsive design

One of the most overlooked dimensions of a website is the mobile and tablet view. Sure, you probably have a responsive website but are you getting your most sought calls-to-action at the top of the page for users to take easy action. The best places to start when designing a layout to convert via mobile/tablet is to see what you’re most money driven action is such as online product purchases , Request A Quote, order by phone, etc.

To drive this point home further, Mark Zuckerberg said in a January 2016 Earnings Call to investors, “If you come in and you try to show me a desktop product, then I’m going to kick you out.”

It’s a mobile world now so rethink your design strategy if mobile isn’t as important as desktop.

6) How is the site/page load speed?

site speed load time tips

A well constructed website should have a homepage that loads in less than 3 seconds. The other pages of the site should load under 1 second. There are a couple of useful things you can do right off the bat that will help page load times.

  • Are you compressing your images? allows you to compress JPG, PNG and PDF files for viewing on the web without jeopardizing quality. One will usually get about 50% – 75% compression. Imagine loading big, high res images on your homepage that are 175kb opposed to 750kb…
  • Are you using a caching system? You have to be careful with how you use site caching, you can harm your viewership if not used properly but really help if you can leverage it the right way. Caching also helps you compress html, css and javascript for quicker load speeds.
  • There’s hundreds of other factors that go into creating fast page loading. Contact us today to get your site load time down. It could be different between leaving and staying.

You can test your website page load speed at

7) Did the user get a true feel for your brand?

Branding design

I won’t hold back here: Clients underestimate the design phase when dealing with a professional agency. A well designed website, app, or eLearning course takes just as long to design than it does to develop. The best designers in the world will help you understand that there needs to be parallels with all creatives:

  • You need to create and stick to your style guide;
  • Designate a color to your important call(s)-to-action;
  • Your imagery needs to contain those colors in your style guide. Yes, searching for stock images can take a long time but will make a major difference;
  • Spend time creating your site content. The words you use need to sound, look and feel different from every other website or course out there, and make sure it follows through to your off-site marketing efforts. Usually seeking a professional content writer is a good investment.
  • The tone you use is also important – it’s an art to say the least. How pushy do you want to be? It’s your call but it should fit your overall design and mood.

8) Can we achieve true simplicity in all that we need to showcase?

Jared Ferreira | Steve Jobs Autobiography Book Review

Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

Take the extra time to create multiple layouts, locations of buttons, UI designs, and imagery. You will give yourself options and most importantly you will start to weed out things that are not important to your end-goal. A true designer will keep creating options even when they think they found the answer. We use the rule of 3 at VALEiRA, especially for homepages. We give the client 3 homepage layouts that help weigh the most important features and where exactly they should put placed on the site. That is how WE achieve simple. It takes work.

9) Can the visitor honestly say they've learned something?


Creating a feel good moment is hard to accomplish in person via advertising, but via the web in digital format is a different animal due to how people can control what they see. The one thing to keep in mind is that the viewer has a preconceived interest in what you have to offer but can you take it a step further and provide additional benefits backed up by scientific evidence, surveys, testimonials, etc.? If you can forge that into a main heading or subheading section and spin it in fashion that pivots someone into buying mode then you’re heading in the right direction. Remember, you need to bolster those educational facts with other relevant calls-to-action and pertinent info within your page/site. It’s a game of predictable psychology and is extremely unique for every project.

10) Does the navigation structure allow them to easily discover more about you?

Mega menu example

The way you structure your navigation is vital to the click patterns you will get. The most important links should flow from left to right (or top to bottom). One thing that not many people explore is the use of what we call “Mega Menus,” which are strategically designed menu’s to offer more than just links. They may include preview content pertaining to your services and products, featured items, hot deals, and more. For those of you that use WordPress, this plugin will have you rethinking your menu style and structure. I promise.

11) Did I invest the time writing the content and calls-to-action?

content writing for web

If you are one that works on several websites or courses chances are you have a role in creating the content and writing style. Sure, the content may be completely different but your dialog and vocabulary has limits. You may want to have 1 or 2 professional writers on-hand that you can connect with. Be sure to present them with creatives and branding material as they can generally form a style of dialog that strategically fits. The several hundred dollars spent in professional (and different) writing styles will be worth it. Just try it once.

Contact us for professional copywriters. We have several writers we use for our many services.

12) Will it win people over?

Best Instructional Design Company

Taking everything we just mentioned, you need to step back, take a 10,000 foot view, and ask yourself:

  • Does it sound compelling?
  • Does it feel compelling?
  • Does this build trust in the eyes of viewers?
  • Do the content and images flow?
  • Is this setup in a way that can become a competitive advantage?
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Are you seeking a professional design agency for your next web or eLearning project? Our team of designers, developers and interaction designers are equipped with the know-how you don’t even know you need. Talk to us. We have great ideas.

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