BBC: Web users are hip to manipulation

An excellent article by the BBC nails the problem many media companies are having trying to move the “frequency” needle in their efforts to build a sustainable mass for marketing.

Instead of dawdling on websites many users want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave.

Most ignore efforts to make them linger and are suspicious of promotions designed to hold their attention.

The information comes from usability guru Jakob Nielsen, who says most people are “hot potato” driven and just want to get a specific task completed. That’s not good news for sites who want people to explore and discover.

“The designs have become better but also users have become accustomed to that interactive environment,” Dr Nielsen told BBC News.

Now, when people go online they know what they want and how to do it, he said.

This makes them very resistant to highlighted promotions or other editorial choices that try to distract them.

“Web users have always been ruthless and now are even more so,” said Dr Nielsen.

“People want sites to get to the point, they have very little patience,” he said.

Media companies would do well to pay attention here, for this is yet another indication that the portal website concept is sinking deeper into the tar pits.

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