“We prefer to get the conclusion first”

“Reading texts is not a mystery game” (AartJan van Erkel).
Front-loading content means that you first give away the conclusion. Occasionally it can help to arouse one’s curiosity by not revealing the conclusion at first, but most of the times it works better if you start with the clue. So don’t spend time ‘leading up to your point’.

Our brain is processing huge amounts of information every second (and what’s more: reading online takes 20% more time than reading from paper). Therefore, our brain prefers to process as little information as possible. So your customers assess your app, social, web and mobile pages at a glance. You only have a few seconds to encourage people to read more, to take action, or to navigate to another one of your pages.

Providing information in such a way that it costs the least cognitive effort is therefore often the most persuasive (like Steve Krug says: ‘Don’t Make me Think’ :-)). By providing the most important information first, your prospect can quickly scan whether you offer something interesting, and decide to put more cognitive effort in judging your offer


W3C example:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C: an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web), acknowledges the importance of front-loading. As they state: “To decrease the amount of sifting readers perform to find important information, place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc.”.

They give the following example of how to front-load a bulleted list:
front-load bulleted list

Online Persuasion tips:

Conclusion first, everything else second!

Apply this to:

  • Page title-level (web/mobile) and subject line-level (e-mail).
  • Introduction-level: put your most important content in the upper left corner of your ‘entry-page’ or e-mail.
  • Page-level: in your title and introductory paragraph.
  • Paragraph-level: in the first sentence.
  • Sentence level: in the first words of the sentence.

AB-test:

Siddharth Deswal (Marketing Associate at Wingify) descibes a nice test by SafeSoft Solutions. Front-loading the important price information doubled SafeSoft’s conversion!

Front loading important Price Information

Front loading important Price Information

Further reading on front-loading: