How People Actually Use The Web

Jun 15, 2011

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The naked truth about web users is that they don’t bother about your website. I know it’s appalling; how could they, right? When designing web sites, designers act as though people are going to pore over each webpage, reading our finely crafted and drafted text, figuring out how we’ve organized things, and weighing their options before determining which link to click.

Scanning Webpages

In all actuality we peek at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that grasps our interest or vaguely resembles the thing we are looking for. We very seldom go through web pages word by word; the exclusion is pages that contain documents like news stories and articles. Instead, we scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences that catch our eye. Research has found that about 80% percent of web users always scanned any new page they came across; while only 15% percent read word-by-word. Furthermore, a newer study found that users read email newsletters even more sparsely than they read websites.

Designing Webpages

When designing a webpage we assume that the user will read all available choices and choose the best one. In absoluteness most of the time we don’t choose the best option – we choose the first acceptable option. Why not put more thought into our choices? We’re usually in a haste – can you imagine how long it would take to locate something if you read every page you accessed? Weighing options may not improve our chances if a website is designed poorly and many are. Also there’s not much of a penalty for guessing wrong and sometimes guessing is just more fun.

One thing that becomes clear as you watch users is the extent to which people use things all the time without understanding how they work, or with completely wrong ideas about how they work. Faced with any sort of technology very few people take the time to read instructions. Instead we forge ahead and muddle through, making up our own ideas about why it works. Knowing how people actually use web sites will help us design more effective web sites. And don’t be discouraged when people don’t use our sites as designed.

Why Use Innovation Simple

At Innovation Simple we understand that people are professional web scanners and want to get what they want faster. Our graphic designers and marketers know how to create pages that are easy to navigate and easy to use.

If you have a website that needs help in becoming easier to use and scanner friendly then please call us at 888-559-3274 or feel free to fill out our Free Web Design Quote Form.

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