A user-centric approach

Online viewers are an unforgiving bunch.

A great deal of research has shown that people scan more than they read, jumping between headings and text looking for words and phrases of interest.

They’ve also learned to be impatient. If they don’t find an answer to a question, they might click once to another part of the site. Then, if they still can’t find it, they’re gone.

It’s easier to go back to Google and search again than trawl around a site themselves. When this happens they are very difficult to attract back because they’ve formed a negative opinion.

Basically we’ve all learned to be lazy, fussy and intolerant when it comes to websites. We want information to be obvious and within quick and easy reach.

If the content doesn’t catch our attention quickly, we’re out; if it lacks credibility, we’re out.

If it’s difficult to navigate around a site, difficult to decipher the most important parts, difficult to read the text or navigate the video, we abandon it. And we might never come back.

With an abundance of choice and little time to spare, we don’t need to hang around.

I’m relating this to healthcare professionals of course, not just you and I. We’ve all been bred on the same media diet, the same online environment.

The recent iDevices have shown us how important user interface design has become. It’s what differentiates one product from another.

This used to be something only the tech guys worried about, but today it’s something we all need to get involved in.

Steve Jobs, CEO of the company, was obsessed with design and user experience. Online, user experience drives dwell time, repeat visits and visitor pathways through sites.

It teaches us that all the money spent on market research, targeting and message development can be lost online if we don’t have a user-centric approach to design.