News article

The interactive web – Attention span is a finite resource

Keeping a user’s attention is becoming a hard game to play. With the ever-increasing list of apps that will distract your user for things they deem important; hourly exercise reminders, emails, or even an event in a game, the fight for their attention is on. How do you ensure your site isn’t the loser?

Keeping a user’s attention on your website can be a struggle

Firstly, you can take the fight to a potential client by ensuring your social media platform is helpful and engaging. If you’re posting content people want to share, one of your current clients may share something to hundreds of potential clients, leading the fight for their attention.

Once a user finds their way to your site, whether via social media, search results, or another source, the fight isn’t over.

For example, if they don’t land on a page which answers their question(s) in depth, how hard is it for them to find these answers? If a user has landed on your homepage, and there is no menu item or button to the page they’re looking for, they’re going to leave.

Let’s assume the page they’re on has all the information they need or at least has an obvious link to the information they need. You have their attention, right?

As long as the content is engaging, yes.

If your content is one long block of writing, how interesting is it? How informative is it? How long is it? If your content is boring, or full of long and complex words, it doesn’t matter as the user will be less likely to read it.

And, even if the user starts reading, the fight isn’t over. If you have a pop-up asking them to subscribe to your newsletter or let them know about a deal you are currently pushing, then you may have just thrown in the towel.

There is an alternative which more and more sites are starting to implement to try and get ahead in the fight for attention; getting involved with the interactive web. The interactive web isn’t a cult or a clan looking to recruit members, it is a term given to websites, or parts of websites, which are interactive.

Join the interactive web

If a user is interacting with your site, they’re not leaving it. It’s as simple as that. Interactive content can be but isn’t limited to, video, audio, and quizzes.

Putting these on your site isn’t guaranteed to increase a user’s attention. They may not feel they have time to do a quiz, might decide downloading a video is too large for their mobile data plan, or they may be in a public area with no headphones.

However, adding these to your site can increase a user’s attention, and could be the thing which drives them to call you and book an initial meeting.

The pros and cons of the interactive web

When discussing interactive web elements, it’s impossible not to talk about the pros and cons. Let’s look at the content types above, to see whether they are a potential fit for your site.

Note that a website doesn’t require these to be engaging, and not all sites would benefit from them.

Video

Video is, by far, the most versatile interactive element you can add to your site. From client stories and explaining services to clients to introducing team members, you can do a lot with video.

Pros:

  • Quite versatile in what it can be used for
  • Ability to fit a lot of information in a small part of your website
  • A mixture of audio and visual to grab a user’s attention

Cons:

  • Without good transcripts, you could be excluding users with visual/auditory impairment
  • If you don’t have someone enthusiastic behind the camera, the video will seem dull
  • Quite large file sizes, which will cause users on slow internet connections issues viewing

Audio

Depending on what you want to get across to users, audio can either be great, or a large amount of effort for little result. Pure audio is an uncommon sight across the web, as most people will use services such as Soundcloud and iTunes to upload and share their audio content; music and podcasts are some of the most common ways to interact with an audience solely with audio.

Pros:

  • Can listen to it on the go; you don’t need to look at a screen to listen

Cons:

  • A bad microphone will ruin the media
  • A lack of a transcript will exclude deaf users

Unless you’re uploading something interesting to the user, e.g. a weekly podcast which looks at different issues facing your target audience, a user won’t bother listening.

Quiz

A quiz doesn’t have to have a definite answer. You could have a form on your site which calculates how much money/assets a user would need if they were to retire at their chosen age, or have a quiz which tests a user’s knowledge about ‘if they’re ready to retire’. You can come up with any number of quizzes which are related to your site’s content.

Pros:

  • People usually find these fun, as they’re taking part
  • Can create a layout which suits your site best
  • Very shareable; a user is likely to share a quiz with friends/family if it could be of use to them

Cons:

  • If they’re too long/have too many questions a user may not bother filling one out
  • If you ask for personal information, such as salary, a user may not be comfortable completing one

Get in touch

Adding interactive elements to your site can be straightforward but bear in mind that it may not always be the best thing for your site.

If you’re unsure about what you can do to drive engagement, we are always available to talk to you about what the next step for your website is. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300 for a chat.

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