Web Design for Short Attention Sp–

These days, people only read the headline. Heck, they might only scan the logo.

How are you expected to introduce a web-based service in the age of super-short attention spans?

Whatever your site or app’s mission, less is more (particularly in matters of presenting content). UX and UI design today is all about editing, finding the simplest means to communicate ideas and guide a user’s interaction. The word of the day is: ‘SHORTCUTS.


The right comparison can make a complicated concept easy. Remember when Apple told people to “swipe, like turning a page?”

It all comes down to reducing cognitive load. New site visitors want to navigate through your site as if on instinct. This isn’t even an unrealistic expectation. We’ve all been trained by the UI of countless other sites. Most people are really, really good at looking at websites. Consciously or not, they’re also very good at judging a site’s UI. We don’t always have to cave into the latest trends, but it’s unwise to outright ignore new or evolving design standards.

One simple design step is to provide visitors with some simple visual cues along their way. This can be the careful selection of (just a few!) choice lines of copy, or pictures of your service that distinguish your brand and offerings. As a bonus, these visual cues teach users to recognize your site layout. Keep it simple. One or two takeaways per site visitor is all you can ask for. Let this be your goal. Give visitors too much at once and they’ll feel attacked and will likely ignore the whole barrage.

Bad experiences stick with us. Most first impressions are formed visually (certainly with a web-based service). The good news for new business is that today, more than ever, good UXD > brand loyalty. In the web space, we’re now all trained to know that other options are just a click away.

If it isn’t easy for visitors to accomplish a desired goal, and your business model is dependent on repeat use, you have a major UXD problem. Don’t design processes that require folks to remember things from earlier in the process. Imagine having ordered from Amazon already and then struggling through the process the next time you wanted to order something… not good.

Make a point to provide your repeat visitors with some shortcuts to–






Association Week – Forum Honors Gala and Silent Auction

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend Association Week's Forum Honors Gala at Field Museum. The big happening was by far the silent auction. Our contribution this year was to apply our experience and knowledge to help an organization deliver more value to members through a website strategy and usability review. We are granting the winner a usability and search engine optimization analysis of their organization's website. The lucky winner for all this was Renee Schleicher @ The American Academy of Medical Administrators.

We look forward to the opportunity of working with Renee and the AAMA to provide them with actionable and tangible suggestions to greatly improve their website.

Useful Text Shortcuts and Title Tag for Google SEO

I just found a few great new shortcuts for Google goodness – I only knew about half of these existed. I can see them being useful at some point in the future. Mostly for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) testing, which I have been reading up on all afternoon :)

Field Explanation
intitle: Finds pages that have the term(s) in the HTML title element. Can be combined with other search terms. intitle:search engines.
This should find ‘search’ in the title and ‘engines’ anywhere in the page.
inurl: Finds pages that have the term(s) somewhere in the URL (host name, path, or filename). Can be combined with other search terms. inurl:searchenginewatch.
allintitle: Finds pages that have the term(s) in the HTML title element. allintitle:search engines.
link: Finds pages which contain hypertext links to the exact specified URL. finds pages with links to this site.
allinurl: Finds pages that have the term(s) somewhere in the URL (host name, path, or filename). allinurl:searchenginewatch.
site: Finds pages from
the designated Web site. Path and file names can be included.
allinanchor: Finds pages that have the term(s) somewhere in the links to the page. .
related: Invokes
GoogleScout to find other pages similar in linkage patterns to the
given URL and at a similar hierarchical level. The URL must be exact.
In other works and find different results.

One other useful SEO tip that I am going to divulge today: is the title tag: Google and MSN only allow 65 characters to be used, Yahoo! allows more. The remaining characters are truncated and will not be considered in your search. So the trick here is to make titles effective but not too long. Another idea could be to swap your title and your company so the format would be title – company, instead of the standard company – title.

Posted in SEO