If a user’s experience is their journey on your web page, then they need to stay on board or that ride is over. Maintaining people’s attention is the goal here, so that straying from the path can be avoided. Here are a few ideas to help that engagement.
First things first. Pull a user in with something different that stands out. The UI is a canvass for bright colours and large fonts. But once you have their attention, then distractions need to be kept at bay. Clumsy design or an unplanned UX may lead to users being distracted and straying from your site.
There’s only so much info people can look at without losing interest (providing only what’s needed can help with this), and consider making the info you do show easy to scan with headers and chunked info.
Is that a button? Seriously? It’s indistinguishable – enough to extinguish your user’s attention. Consider bringing in some affordance to your web pages; that read-more button that’s clickable, needs to look like it is.
The least a user has got to do, the better. Go easy on the cognitive load and they’ll bear with you – they’re already expending energy surfing on the sofa. (Remember it’s their attention that’s important here.)
So let a user tap on that CTA without having to search for it, or they’ll be somewhere else in a swipe. Why should we think more than we have to? It’s a human trait, so don’t feel bad.
If you’re struggling, consider introducing progressive disclosure techniques. You know, like giving an intro to an article then offering the choice of whether or not the user wants more info or not. Or give an example instead of just describing; all telling and no showing will make us all start wondering about other things.
We all make mistakes, that’s why there are rubbers on pencils, right? Or why the trusty “undo” command is such a life-saver. Well sometimes we just want to go back to where we were a moment ago to reread or re-watch something, or because we just messed up on a form. Let us regroup! Got breadcrumbs? A home button or internal back-link? Whatever, make it easy for us to stay on the path whichever direction we want to travel.
And fellow designer, allow for user feedback so that your mistakes can be pointed out too.
When I’m unsure on something I’ll ask for help – even for directions when I’m lost (if Gmaps has failed me). Reviews and ratings on products or places to stay are relevant because they offer social validation. Getting guidance from others when you need it is profound. I don’t want anything that’s been given a 1-star.
Also, how-to videos are the best because they show someone making a pancake and then, because we’re wired to imitate, we’ll be able to make our own.
I’ve got to fill in this form? Oh, wait. I get one of those? Oh, cool.
Giving users something before asking them to fill out a form is just plain-old-simple reciprocity.
What’s best to eat for energy? (BTW that’s a genuine popular search term.)
It’s official, we seek food, sex, shelter, clothes, and information. Having a wealth of information can give users choices, the feeling of control, and a sense of surviving the moment. Delivery tracking has come into fruition because people want to know what is happening.
We the users need a lot of attention to maintain our attention. Hindrances in design fuel the distraction monsters to pull us effortlessly from the journey proposed for us. If you can create authentic content that is clear and helpful with options for user input, then you will be on the right track, which is a start.