Brain Science and Effective Websites
Today is the final piece in a series where we have explored website building from a variety of useful angles.
First we examined how we should set and enforce our expectations of a website. Then we explored the common traits that all effective websites have before turning to the content of the website and why it is more important than ever. Last week we studied five new(ish) technology and design approaches that are sure to make any website look high quality and impressive.
In today’s final installment we investigate the psychology of browsing a website.
Raise your hand if you have heard the term “neurodesign.” Okay, now put your hand down (people are staring).
Neurodesign is the term for understanding the activities and motivations in the brain with respect to customer experience. Essentially, why is a customer experience considered good or bad? Studying the brain’s reaction to customer experience stimuli helps us all understand how to create an effective customer experience better.
Okay, so what does all of this neurodesign stuff have to do with website design?
Plenty, as it turns out.
Published website usability testing research lets the entire industry of website builders study how people react to different websites and how content is presented.
Recent research augmented the natural pressure humans feel when we browse the web. There’s something about the “rush” of browsing the web for us. We feel compelled to move quickly and make quick decisions.
Humans look for quick shortcuts to solving problems anyway. When you add browsing a website into the mix, that reality kicks into overdrive.
We are always acting as though we have limits to our time, information, and access to resources. Researchers use this basic truth about how humans have adapted over centuries to reveal insights into how we process information on websites.
Hence web design – from how a website appears to how auto-complete functionality works on our search engines – is set up to speed us through our information gathering.
For businesses, these research findings must compel us to make the gathering of information as quick as possible as our target audience reads our website.
After all, websites have an express purpose as a marketing material – to funnel the reader to an action that benefits our business.
The design of the site must make it easy to find the essential information required to make a decision.
The writing of the site must also make it very clear which content is the most essential. I have a handy approach you can use when thinking through how to craft your website content. I call it the “3-30-3” rule of content writing.
3-30-3 Rule Of Content Writing
Think of your audience the way LeBron James has said he defines Northeast Ohio – “nothing is given, everything is earned.”
When writing content that will be read online, you have three seconds to grab a reader’s attention. If your information seems interesting, you will earn 30 more seconds of that reader’s time… browsing through your site. If that reader is still finding useful information after 30 seconds, you will earn three additional minutes of time – and probably a conversion on your website.
Make sure your headlines are interesting! Make sure the content below the headline is just as interesting and constructed in such a way where it pulls your website reader deeper into the site.
Use brain science and practical, smart content writing to turn your website browsers into buyers.
In the coming weeks we will take a deep dive into the customer experience in the offline world – stay tuned!