Resist the Temptation: Everyone Is Doing It

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By Shawna Duvall

Welcome back! Here is my second post sharing what I have learned as a landing page optimization specialist. If you missed my earlier post, see here.

It is a great idea to keep up with trends in design; in fact, it’s vital. But, don’t be fooled by the latest trends. Most of the time, a trend that lands itself on page after page isn’t there because it is a great idea but, maybe, because one of two people liked it: the boss or the designer–and chances are the idea was never tested. A case in point, the perfect, and sort of landing page design sin, is the auto rotating slide show. In Tim Ash’s blog post, Which Brain Is Your Website Selling To? he observes, “The reptilian brain’s primary concern is physical survival and well-being. It is self-centered, assesses situations in black-and-white terms, and is quick to act, triggering the fight-or-flight response most people are familiar with. The reptilian brain seeks visual familiarity, is strongly triggered by emotions, and until the other layers are developed, really couldn’t be bothered with complex reasoning. Despite its aversion to details, its specialty is making decisions.” So it will respond to movement being that it is trained to do so as a survival mechanism.


The point is to get users to do what they are naturally inclined to do on your site (and do it without thinking). Author Steve Krug, in Don’t Make Me Think says,Users have varying tolerances for complexity and distractions; some people have no problem with busy pages and background noise, but many do.” Which means you have to design for the ones who have difficulty dealing with busy pages. The ones who don’t will be able to function on an uncluttered site just as well as a cluttered one but the same is not true for the many that do not tolerate distraction.


Right out of college I was using an HTML editor and Photoshop. That was it! Now as a landing page designer at Conversion Max, I use about 40 different tools to test, find, create, analyze, break (or experiment), and communicate. Because my goal, as a designer, is to match a landing page to the look and feel of a client’s website, I use tools to get information on colors, fonts, and sizes. I use trackers to identify what scripts they are running. Use split testers, heatmaps, Google AdWords, Analytics, and call trackers to gather and analyze data. Through the process, I find myself becoming more of a digital detective or scientist than a designer. Compiling data, forming a hypothesis, running a test then repeating it over again.

Curious about the tools I mentioned? Check out my next blog post where I will share the tools I can’t live without. (OK, “live without” is a bit strong…can’t “design without” is better).

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Shawna Duvall

Shawna makes sure that landing pages speak to the audience they’re trying to convert. She identifies and defines client target markets through the use of psychology and a series of client interviews to create convincing marketing messages and communications strategies for landing pages. Her web design background helps her then create an attractive and visually appealing page that will increase conversions. Shawna has an A.S. degree in Graphic Design from Westwood College in Denver, Colorado and she's a Google AdWords Qualified Individual. She loves to travel, scuba dive, act and photograph. She is a die-hard Niner fan; a Cirque Du Soleil fanatic; and just to keep things exciting, a gamer.

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