AIDA marketing model in web design

If you’ve been formally educated in marketing, more than likely you’ve learned about a marketing model called AIDA. AIDA is an acronym that represents the different steps involved in selling a product or service. Very often, the principles of AIDA are applied naturally when a useful product or service is being marketed. Being web designers and app developers, however, our personal involvement on a technical level in our own or client projects may deter our efforts to produce a design that correctly implements AIDA.

I’ve only recently come to learn about the AIDA model myself, and I thought it would be an interesting topic to apply directly to the decisions we make in web design. In this article I’ll provide examples with some explanations showing how web and app developers can effectively implement this model for full benefit.

A = Attention

The first step in successfully marketing a product or service is getting attention, that is, getting potential consumers to notice your product. There are a couple of obvious ways this can be done.

Attention Through Strong Imagery

Web development trends have over the years improved to imitate print methods more closely — and for good reason. Principles in print design have been studied and tested for so many years, and have proven to be successful in so many industries. The use of strong imagery to market a product has always been a powerful way to get a potential customer’s attention.

Attention Through Strong Typography

Another well-known method of grabbing attention is the use of large headings, utilizing color and whitespace to maximize their effect.

I = Interest

The next step in the AIDA model is keeping the interest of the customer. In the previous section, we saw how aesthetic enhancements can be used to get the customer’s attention. But along with that, the customer needs to know how your product or service will help them. In this case, giving a list of features is not enough; you need to express to your users how those features will benefit them.

Interest Through Practical Benefits

Whatever product you’re advertising will likely be something that helps the consumer in some way. Maybe it helps them save time, cut corners, save money, or provides a service that assists them to overcome menial, repetitive tasks. Whatever the benefit is, it needs to be communicated to the customer so they can see exactly how their life or workflow will be helped.

D = Desire

The next step in the AIDA model is desire, which is a natural extension of interest. After you’ve grabbed a consumer’s attention, and obtained their interest, you need to keep that interest going by promoting your product in such a way that they will begin to grow in their desire for it. This is probably the most difficult of any of the steps in the AIDA model, and can encompass a number of different techniques, but I’ll mention a few here that are geared specifically towards web designers.

Desire Through Content Sliders

JavaScript-driven content switchers and image sliders are extremely popular on home pages nowadays, and for good reason. They’re beautiful, accessible, they degrade gracefully, and they help market your products in a non-obtrusive and tasteful manner.

Aesthetics and accessibility, however, should not be the only reasons for including such a feature. This method of displaying content should also be for the purpose of helping to build desire for your products or services.

Desire Through Organization of Content

Anyone involved in web development in recent years will likely be familiar with SitePoint and their top-quality articles and books on design and development. Each individual SitePoint book page is an excellent example of content that’s organized with the goal of building desire for the product.

A = Action

The final step in the AIDA marketing model is getting the user to take action.

After getting the user’s attention, arousing their interest, and stimulating their desire for your product, they need to have a clear way to take action. Whether it’s to sign up for your service, purchase your product, or download a trial of your app, the visual enticement to take action should be elegant, beautiful, and convenient.


Bonus: S = Satisfaction

Many people have favored adding a fifth letter to the AIDA acronym: “S” for “Satisfaction”. After a product has been correctly marketed through attention, interest, desire, and action, it is up to the product or service provider to maintain and support their products to keep the customers happy and satisfied long after purchase.


The techniques mentioned above, when isolated, are really nothing new in modern web design. Many experienced designers have implemented many, if not all, of these methods. This discussion has attempted to give purpose to some of the decisions we make in design, demonstrating that design should follow a close examination of content and marketing goals.

Using the AIDA marketing model, you can give purpose and direction to all the design and architectural decisions made in your web design projects.