Focus on what you’re supposed to focus.
No matter what type of business you’re creating, your audience is comprised of the people who will benefit from your products or services. It’s of high importance to profoundly know your market. Some aspects will be known by you, others won’t – and these aspects will be the ones to have a great impact on your business outcome.
- What are the needs of my audience?
- How does my audience think?
- What motivates my audience?
- What grabs its attention?
- What arouses its interest?
- Add your own, in order to find essential information
If you’ll mind the patterns, the common behavior, you’ll diminish the chances of failure.
Don’t rely on the fact that your audience is going to perceive what you want them to perceive. We’re all humans, but we have different knowledge and come from different backgrounds. These impact the way in which we’re perceiving everything around us.
We read more than we talk. We read newspapers, news headlines, billboards, business cards, bills, memos, websites… so many… As clients, first we read something about a business and afterwards we’re talking to a person about it. So you can figure out how important is the first impression – titles and headlines.
My day is so full that I can barely have time to blink, and I can assume yours is the same. And with a full day comes a full mind. Asking me to remember things it’s annoying, and it’s also a flaw from your part. You shouldn’t rely on human memory… it’s obsolete. Unless… you can make an “Omelette du fromage“. Practice make perfect! Think about TV commercials – they run over and over again, all day long, right ’til the point where you’re finding yourself paying for what has been advertised. Inception!
Help the audience digest your information. Let’s use a website as an example – there’s the homepage, the about page, the features page, the pricing page and the contact page (there can be many more, but let’s keep it simple). They’re organized nicely and can be accessed in a civilized manner. But what if you’re going to display everything at once? And I mean really AT ONCE? As a visitor, I’ll get confused, scarred and I will run home to mummy! Use progressive disclosure – show me what I need, when I need it!
People’s attention is grabbed by “things” that are already in their interest area. If you do know your audience, it shouldn’t be that hard to stimulate their attention. Just like when we’ve discussed the human memory, I’ll recommend you to use repetition – if it’s important, repeat it, over and over and over and over and… get my drift? At some point you’ll get their attention. Over and over and over…
When I was a kid, in absolutely no way was willing to eat soup. My parents tried many methods, and needless to say, they all failed miserably. Until one day, when one of them, really can’t say which (I’ve told you… you can’t rely on human memory) had an amazing idea. I was presented with a reward in the form of a bubble gum. The catch? The gum was at the bottom of the bowl… That’s right – I had to eat the soup in order to get the bubble gum (and by the way they halved the quantity). I know… why didn’t I spilled it, or look for the bubble gum with the spoon? Well, I wasn’t much of a miniature Einstein… The point is – offer a short distance to the goal and offer a reward in the end. You’ll add some motivation to the game!
People MAKE decisions based on unconscious factors but, regardless of that, they ASK for rational reasons. Be careful to give them not too many reasons and/or choices – we usually feel overwhelmed by too much information and get paralyzed, not being able to take a decision. On the other hand, people need to feel in control so do give them more than one choice. Another influential factor is mood, and while you can’t control their emotions entirely, you do have the ability to influence them. A person in a good mood will be more open minded and will rate products/services as being more valuable.
A last pattern – the conclusion
There are so many things to consider. Don’t think this article covered all possible patterns and all scenarios.
What you should take with you from the above story is the importance of analyzing behavioral patterns and the need of using documented solutions (user interface patterns) as much as possible, since people will naturally be looking for them.