When you look at your web pages you focus like nobody else in the world. You look at each part of it thinking about the effort that went into the design. You might feel proud or relieved it is done. You know the reasons you put certain text in certain places, or remember the steps you went through in getting a graphic or photograph just right. But this lens is not the lens of a visitor to your site. It’s impossible for you or your web designer to see through that lens.
When others visit your website, they move like nervous birds. They skim and pop. Their eyes dart about. Nobody sticks around a site to be “nice,” or clicks on a few extra pages to make the designer feel worthwhile. Your site has to be right before they’ll stay. And “right” is defined by the standards of the web visitor’s itchy trigger finger, not you or your web designer.
Do you know your average “time on site”? Do you know the average number of pages for a visitor? If not, get ready – you might be surprised.
An excellent post, Scott, and one that should get a lot of attention. You’re pointing to the need to have User Experience as the key measure of excellence for a website. Just watch even one user as they visit the website and you’ll often get a real awakening.
Unfortunately many websites are catastrophes checked out in this way. Your post addresses a minority of websites where it’s just a slight change of perspective between the creator and the visitor. Nevertheless doing user tests even very early in the website development process will give enormous value in terms of website performance.