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In this issue
Win the war on distraction
Distraction is a major source of usability issues we see across many usability testing projects. Distraction stops your web visitors in their tracks. Ironically distractions often occur because a website is trying to do too much: too many options, links, text, or images. When the user is barraged with dozens of helpful links or buttons they respond to it as they would to too many helpful people making suggestions all at once.
Information overload distracts users from their task. This is bad news for you. Most people who visit your website are there to do something. If they get distracted they can lose focus, or leave. Distractions have a direct impact on web task performance, on your level of customer service, and on your bottom line.
The cost of distraction can be huge. In usability testing, we see lots of time wasted by distractions when people take too long on their task, or give up. Gloria Mark at University of California at Irvine says that workers change tasks every three minutes, and, once distracted, take nearly a half-hour to resume the original task.
The good news is you can win the war on distraction. Prioritizing your web resources to serve top tasks can help. Often that means getting rid of distracting links, buttons, or menu items, and de-cluttering. If you can solve your distraction problems, your website can become the important tool you hope it can be, by helping people stay focused on their task. Your intranet, equally, can become an important work tool, helping workers get work done. The way to win is to eliminate distractions from navigational menus and links, in search, and anyplace on your site that is critical to completing top tasks.
Here are some ways to win the war on distraction, along with links to articles for more details:
Too many steps or clicks invite distraction
Here are some ways to fight distraction invited by too many steps or clicks:
Links that are not easy to see cause distraction
Placement of links can result in a different kind of distraction. A link that is away from the primary scanning area, or off to the right can take a long time for people to notice. If a link looks like an ad people will avoid it.
Here are some ways to fight distraction caused by links that are not easy to see:
Links that are too similar cause distraction
Here are some ways to fight distraction caused by links that are too similar:
Links that don’t keep their promise cause distraction
Here are some ways to fight distraction caused by links that don't make good promises:
Marketing and promotion links can cause distraction
Graphical ads can increase the time it takes for pages to load. For example, one internet provider placed graphical ads on its website suggesting that customers upgrade to high-speed internet. The graphics added 18 seconds to the time it took non-high-speed users to load a key landing page. Users get distracted when pages take that long to load.
Distraction on an e-commerce site impacts the bottom line. A Dell side-by-side test of the pages below showed that deals distracted from sales by 19%. In the A/B test, version B had links to The Weekend Deal Event and Top 10 best deals at the top of the page. Version A had product-category navigation at the top instead, and garnered 19% more revenue. In other words, visitors were on these pages to buy something – they had a product in mind. The chance was small that the special deals matched their task. Thus the special deals were sufficiently distracting that they actually lost sales! When promotions are not related to a buying task, the cost of distraction is measured in sales.
Here are some ways to fight distraction caused by marketing and promotional links:
In sum: Measure and manage top tasks to avoid distracting your web visitors
That’s because Top Task Management helps people measure task performance, so they can manage better. Here are a few steps you can take:
Any of those steps will help you win the war on distraction. Contact us at 613-271-3001 or email us for the right approach to minimize distractions on your website.
One big way we can win the war on distraction is to help people get off the website and get to the right person. Many tasks are completed off the website. The better we connect web visitors to the right employee or service function the better for completing tasks. The biggest source of distraction at work is getting to the wrong person. Gloria Mark identifies that the biggest interruptions at work are about people finding people: a colleague stopping by, new e-mail, a phone call, or being called away from the desk. That is why our task research consistently identifies finding people as a top task on websites and intranets.
Your website can reduce distractions by supporting the top task of finding the right person. When your website improves the find-ability of contact information, and improve the efficiency of getting to the right person, your website can avoid time wasted in asking a bunch of people before getting to the right one.
For most employees finding people is the number one reason they visit an intranet. It’s the foundation for collaboration, knowledge management and the social Intranet.
Brian Lamb from Customer Carewords analyzed research on finding people tasks on intranets. The webinar was based on survey responses from over 15,000 Intranet users and nearly 200 task test sessions. Here are links to the video and slides:
We analyzed the most-frequent challenges mentioned in a discussion in the "User Experience" group on Linked In. The discussion started with this question: "Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge in UX?". To date, 537 replies have been received, and the discussion continues. The word cloud below shows the most frequently used words in people's resposes. We removed extraneous comments. We have challenging jobs!
Quote of the month
“Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff”.
If you have any comments on The Insighter, or ideas on usability topics you'd like to send us an email.
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