I recently delivered a talk to The Executive Connection about online engagement. The talk focussed on how people use and read websites and how to best optimise your website to create a better user experience.
Some of the key points that were discussed are:
How long do people spend on your web pages?
The answer is “not very long”
You usually have about 10-20 seconds, but more often it’s more like 5 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention. However if you can provide clear value and bold calls to action, you can increase your chances of holding a visitor’s attention.
A good article on the duration of people visits to webpages is available from the Nielson Norman Group
What does a 15th century printer have to do with the internet?
Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of the Printing Press created a design philosophy that maps out how readers view a page. It is as relevant to print in the 15th Century as it is to your web pages. People look at the top left of your page, then move to the top right, then the bottom right. This is where your call to action should be. People don’t really look at the bottom left corner of the screen, but it is a good place to put an image, or a video, that is important but not essential for evoking that precious action you want from your visitor.
Eyetracking web usability studies
It is also very important to take into account how people read your website. The unfortunate fact is that people don’t read, they scan. And in fact, they only really pay attention to what appears “above the fold” that is – when the page first loads (on desktop devices).
And they will navigate away if you don’t create a clear value proposition for them in the first couple of headings and paragraphs.
The Neilson Norman Group has a great collection of articles about eye tracking studies of how users read web pages.
Calls to action
A “call to action” is a link that invites a user to take an action. Ideally these should be bold high contrast buttons to stand out against the rest of the page. They should also be in the optimal position in the “Terminal Area” on the page (bottom right).
To get your users to engage with you and your business – you need them to:
- make it clear what the benefits of clicking on your link are and
- make the link stand out from the surrounding page.
Smashing Magazine has a great article on the best ways to create calls to action that engage with your users.
Responsive design is the latest way to design websites. In responsive design all the elements on the webpage resize and reposition themselves in response to the screen width of the device that is viewing the site.
This means that you no longer need to create one site for desktop, and one site for mobile. You can design a single site that works across multiple devices.
This saves you time and money as there are less websites to write, maintain and code for.
Smashing Magazine has a great article on responsive web design. What is it, and how to do it.
Internet Stats: 2012
One request from the TEC group was for some more up to date statistics on the Internet. The Royal Pingdom has an excellent article about The Internet in 2012.
The Prezi from my presentation is available below for reference – but probably won’t make a lot of sense without me talking over the top.