The attention span on the Web is decreasing. How to adapt your site?
The human faculty to stay focused is not what it was. The experts are unanimous, the situation is getting worse: it is estimated today the average attention time to about 8 seconds. We all agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to sit on a chair and do one activity without checking our phone every 5 minutes or being distracted by an outdoor event … Oh! A bird has just passed!
But back to our sheep … Without a doubt, this has consequences on many things, and especially on how to create a website. Why? Because it leaves you little time to get a user’s attention and engage them with your content. From the moment it arrives on your homepage, the timer is launched. You only have a few seconds to convince them to stay.
And if that was enough? Discover in this article 9 effective techniques to challenge your visitors and make them want to spend hours on your site.
Anticipate the course of the visitors
Put yourself in the skin (or in the mouse) of your visitors. The moment they land on your home page when they leave, they make a precise journey. If you can anticipate this path, you will have the opportunity to make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible. For this, you must know the purpose of your site. What final action do you want your visitors to complete? For an online store, it can be a purchase for a blog, subscribe to the newsletter, makes an appointment for a service provider, or share your content on social networks. Once you have set the goal, think about the shortest and easiest way to get there. Here are some actions to do to optimize your visitors’ journey:
- Minimize the number of pages to visit to complete the final action.
- Add a clear and effective Call to Action button.
- Remove or reduce redundant or distracting content.
Think about the waterline
The above-the-fold content is the one visible without the visitor needing to scroll down the page. This is the first thing users see when they arrive on your site. That’s why it’s here that you have to put the package.
Your mission, if you accept it, is to make this part as attractive and captivating as possible. It must not only be “pretty”. You must start the real love at first sight. Only, given the competition, focusing on the physical is not such a good strategy. In addition to its “wow” side, the content above the waterline must fulfill 3 objectives:
- Describe what your site is about
- Make visitors want to know more: go check your products, take a look at your gallery or any action related to the purpose of your site.
- Give visitors a clear idea of how to accomplish this goal by browsing your site.
Air your site
Do not give your users an opportunity to be distracted. Keep your site tidy and organized so that they can focus on the essentials. It can be tempting to add a wealth of information, but overloading your pages is not just about the design you’re impacting, it’s about the overall performance of your site.
Remember a word: white spaces. In web design, it’s all the places on your site left empty. They are very important to highlight the rest of your content. They allow maintaining the attention on certain strategic parts. Place them carefully so that they serve your purpose as defined above.
Facilitate the search for information
A visitor arrives on your site to find information. Unfortunately, he has the attention span of a 21st-century human and therefore does not have the patience to look too long. Do not play with his nerves, you have nothing to gain. On the contrary, chew the work by making the information easily accessible:
- Integrate a search bar to allow your visitors to query by keywords.
- Add a filter system to an online store to enhance the shopping experience.
- Add a Cloud Tag to your blog so that readers can immediately find articles that interest them.
Select the right colors
You will be impressed by how much your site’s colors have an impact on the browsing experience. In addition to giving a specific look to your pages, you can play on shades to guide your visitors. Here are some ways to do it:
Draw the attention of visitors to a specific item by accenting the color.
- Use shades of the same color to establish a hierarchy in your content, so your visitors know where to start.
- Make your text more legible by contrasting the color of your font with that of the background.
- Use color psychology to create a special atmosphere and convey values.
Bet on the images
Large blocks of text will scare away your most stubborn visitors. Whatever your activity, avoid juxtaposing the long descriptive paragraphs, even if it is your core business (we think especially of journalists, writers or academics). Instead, think of a more visual approach.
Swap words against images.
Not only does this convey an idea in a clear and simple way, but in addition, you will make your site more aesthetic. You have an infinite choice: add a video, photos, illustrations, graphics or simple animations to boost the whole. Or all of this at once. The bottom line is to have a harmonious and not overly loaded final render.
Add a chat window
In the “search for information” family, I ask “chat online”. You can respond immediately to requests from your visitors to stay on your site longer. You have the opportunity to initiate the conversation or let the internet users come to you. To make sure you’re always there when you need to, choose the times you want the chat window to appear.
Reduce loading time
Slowness is the worst enemy of the Web. A slow site is a site that will receive fewer traffic, fewer conversions and therefore less turnover. You can not expect people to quietly sip a cup of coffee while waiting for your site to appear. However, here’s what you can do to speed up the loading time:
- Optimize images to appear in high definition, but they do not take up too much space on your site.
- Place heavy files on separate pages. For example, for photographers, create a landscape category, a portraits category, and so on.
- Go easy on the animations, one or two are enough. Use them sparingly, both to reduce your loading time and to provide a more enjoyable experience for your visitors.
- For video or audio files, prefer streaming rather than direct loading.
Try and try again!
Once you have carefully followed our advice, put on your lab coat (for style) and start the testing phase. Of course, if you want to get the attention of humans, you have to test your site on real people. Collect the opinions of your loved ones and listen carefully to the comments of people around you.
Give them tasks to do and time them. Take turns using a computer, a mobile, and a tablet. Experiment with distracted and more concentrated people in a quiet or noisy environment.
The more information you gather, the more you will be able to optimize your site with the aim of immediately catching the attention of your visitors.
Read also on this topic: