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Do your users think too much?

By: Thomas Young

My 13-year old son and I were playing Halo on the Xbox 360 recently and I asked him what made him such a good player.  What he said really made sense.  He said, “I don’t have to think.  My hands just do what my head is thinking.”  When technology is at its best, we don’t have to think.  This is true of Websites as well.  In fact, one of the best books on Web usability is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think!”

We have seen two important trends in user testing around people thinking too much and failing at a Website task.  The first is large blocks of content that says nothing.  Here is an example from a real Website:

ABEL is a non-profit service that improves results through its professional learning curriculum and its virtual community were members share knowledge and collaborate with each other. Through the implementation of information communication technology (ICT), the ABEL program transforms learning by connecting people.

Browse our website to access a variety of learning resources, ABEL-designed programs, including the professional learning program, and to learn about our past events and current opportunities.

What are they saying?

Use clear bullet points that can be scanned by users in the language they speak.

The second area is confusing navigation and links.  Users simply will not click on something they have to think about too much.  They just leave and go to another Website. Use one central navigation system with easily understood link titles.  If you have difficulty deciding on your link titles, visit Wordtracker.com to see the most popular search terms.

One of the best compliments a user can say about your Website, or any technology, is that they don’t have to think to use it.

Thomas Young

Author profile
Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of Winning the Website War available on Amazon. Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 20 years digital marketing experience.

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