Designing for Informavores, or, Why Users Behave Like Animals Online

I like the spider web idea. I know that now with all the RSS feeds you can subscribe to almost all the information I want just comes to me.

But when I do have to search I’ll google something, click the first 1-5 results, and if I do not find what I am looking for without even having to scroll down the page I am back to google onto the next link. This works good because usually one of the 5 pages will have what I need on the first visible part of the page.

I would have to say that 2 minutes is WAY to high. Myself, I usually give a page 10 - 15 seconds to show me what I want to see with a minimum of 2 clicks.

“because Informavores’ fingers are always hovering over the back button. And they have very itchy trigger fingers.”

quite literally :), my middle mouse button is my back button.

hee hee…
I read this entry and the only thing I could think of was:
“May the scent be with you…”

this theory is wrong. web user behavior is vegetal, not animal.

“Users will click the back button nearly instantly when they don’t catch a whiff of the right information from the current page”

Smaller, but good point. It also explains why “back button’s” importance is so high - it’s a natural and essential part of the information-seeking process. If you know, beforehand, you can not jump back - you are less willing to sneak into suspicious holes.

Anything that destroys back button (ill-written Ajax, Flash-based navigation) is wicked and evil! :wink:

The book you mention - “Ambient Findability” - is an excellent read - very thought provoking. I bought it because I was amazed O’Reilly would publish something so different, but it is very cool and very interesting. Funky phrases like an ‘Internet of Things’ pop up every other page.

This is very interesting and aligns with my own search habits. Rather than spend time reading the entire page, I usually skim the first paragraph or two to establish relevance and either continue skimming or back out to the search results.

If the page is annoyingly flashy (flash animation, animated advertisements, blinking text) or difficult to read (gray text on a black background), I back out without bothering to look at the text. This one is somewhat interesting because I do assess the appeal of the page layout in about 50 milliseconds and form an immediate impression. If the page looks amateurish or garish, I’m outta here.

I also immediately back out if I am greeted with a table of contents, such as a long listing of links to forum topics. My reasoning is that I’m conducting a search and I need information quickly; I haven’t the time or the inclination to skim a long list of links to find a topic that may or may not be relevant. If I’m desperate, I might Ctrl-F in FireFox and perform a quick page search… but this is rare.

Taking me to a page with an instant registration requirement is another fast and easy way to make me leave a site. I immediately assume registration means I am providing the organization with marketing information and that they will immediately begin sending me newsletters, advertisements, and marketing information via email. Perhaps this isn’t the case, but I’m not taking time to research the site to find out. Perhaps more important, I have no idea whether the information is even remotely relevant to my needs, so why bother?

One such site is infamous for posting the question, but requiring the reader to register to see the answer. I haven’t bothered because the organization has yet to prove they can provide relevant, credible, and accurate responses. Earn my trust with your information and I’ll consider registration, but not before.

We are currently doing a study on average load times for our homepage at my work. I’ve been advocating this for a while. Sadly, the designers rule the roost here, and there flash and script heavy pages load slow even on my high speed.

With the users 2 minute attention span, if you use one minute of that just loading the page, then your really isolating your intended audience.

Great article, Jeff. Thanks for putting it together.