Current research suggests that if a visitor to your site doesn’t find what they’re looking for within 8 seconds they will leave – possibly never to return again.
From personal experience, I would say that time can be considerably less. So what are people looking for?
Usually information of some description. But as the internet becomes more integrated into our lives, it could be anything. Inspiration, an experience, the first step on a journey.
One thing remains though, when someone lands on your piece of internet space, they arrive laden with questions and cautions. Especially if it’s a first encounter.
What is this site all about? Can they be trusted? Are they being open?
Does it seem likely based on what I am seeing now, that I will find what I seek?
How old is this information? Is it still relevant?
What kind of people are they? How much will this cost me?
The way we answer these types of questions will depend on the purpose of our site and a host of information architecture decisions.
The important thing is – think about the kind of questions being asked and try to answer them.
It seems pretty basic, but it’s easy to overlook, especially if it’s your own site and those questions don’t exist for you.
I spend a lot of time both seeking and supplying information on the internet; the stark irony of the information age is the amount of ‘bad’ information out there.
Your own site can be the most difficult to think objectively about. Get some outside help; friends, colleagues and customers who will give you good feedback. Build, monitor and tweak on a regular basis.
“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”
– Winston Churchill