Monthly Archives: May 2016

Charles Darwin the accidental web-designer

business telecoms

I was at the Sales and Marketing Summit in Dublin this week. It was held in the RDS alongside Tech Connect, which is attempting to fill part of the very large gap left by the Web Summit. The good weather afforded by this time of year was certainly an advantage and there was a great line up of speakers, with some excellent case studies to discuss.

It was fascinating hear about the different techniques people use for digital marketing. What has worked and, just as important, what has not worked. There were some common themes that kept emerging during the day, which I thought it would be helpful to summarise in a series of articles.

One presentation that I loved was by a Frenchman called Louis Grenier, who is fighting the good fight helping organisations improve their websites in order to boost sales. He started his presentation with an image of a statue of Charles Darwin, which thoroughly confused the audience and made them chuckle when the first words he said were: “I suppose you are wondering why the fuck I have put an image of Charles Darwin on the screen for a presentation on web design?”

Why indeed. After all, why would a nineteenth century naturalist be relevant to 21st century website design? Well, it turns out he is and it is because of lions. Yes lions. Mostly due to the way the pesky creatures would creep up behind us before they pounced on us.

The result of this big-cat skullduggery was that humans evolved their peripheral vision. Well, the ones that didn’t get eaten did. So much so that we can often see things on the periphery, before we see things directly in front us. This is why the most important elements on a website should always be around the edge of the screen, as this is where we see things first.

I can’t remember if this was part of Grenier’s presentation, or another one I saw, but A/B testing has also shown that we see faces first when we are presented with a new page. This allows organisations to use faces to direct a user towards important elements of the webpage i.e. have the face looking at a sign-up page.

More so, we see faces that are looking at us first, which is probably also related to protecting ourselves during evolution. Faces in adverts that look directly at the viewer are more likely to be clicked on, than faces that are looking at something else e.g. a laptop screen in the advert. Stock photos also perform worse, so create your own.

Lastly businesses need to repeat messages throughout a website, with the main USPs repeated on every page if possible. Grenier said that this is because you will have probably forgotten 80% of this article within two days and you will have already started to forget parts. Just don’t forget to look out for those lions.

Update: after I posted this article Louis very kindly added his presentation in the comments below: to view it please click here.

Simon Palmer, Marketing and PR at Goldfish.ie: the provider of low-cost cloud-based business telecoms, call recording and QuVu, the only contact centre management software you will ever need.