Design: The Two Second Window

I spent many years running prospecting campaigns for a well-known accounts software company in the North East of England, and one of the most memorable learnings for me was ‘the two second window’.

Put simply, when we were creating any prospecting communication we would factor in that we would have two seconds to persuade the reader to take action.

Yep… that’s right, two seconds. Not the seven or eight that used to be the case even five years ago.

And that has serious implications for the design of, well, everything doesn’t it?

What it means is that a design… any design… has to be well thought out by the marketer beforehand so when the creative actually starts the design, they know with absolute certainty what action the marketer wants the prospect to take.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Sounds like commonsense? Sounds like there should be no reason for this blog?

Now think about how many direct mails, emails or web pages you’ve read where there’s so much ‘design’ going on that you can’t see the wood for the trees. Or where the copy is so complex or simply where there’s too much, and the reader is confronted with an unconscious decision - do I spend a serious amount of time reading this… or sack it off right now.

Which would you choose?

The two second window wins every time.

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