Internet Multitasking

internet multitasking
We have all seen distracted drivers who, while speeding down the freeway, are also making calls, texting, reading, applying make-up, etc. Now-a-days that is the trend while surfing as well- surfing the internet that is!  According to recent studies internet users are increasingly apt to multitask while online- engaging in everything from listening to music or talking on the phone to cooking or exercising. One of the biggest reasons for this shift in online consumer behavior is the rise of portable internet devices- be it Blackberry phones or laptops. Many people now have the internet with them at all times no matter where their busy lives take them.
Internet Multitasking Chart
Ecommerce Implications
As more people go online in conjunction with engaging in other activities, you need to make sure your site has what it takes to compete not only with other businesses but also distracting factors in internet users’ lives. To help your website get traffic and keep users’ attention you may consider:

  1. More Images – Less Text
    The more an internet user has to read while they are trying to engage in other activities the better. Even if the text on a webpage is valuable a text heavy page can be overwhelming to a user who does not have their full attention to devote to a site and may cause them to hit the back button almost immediately. Therefore, visual aspects are very important.
  2. High Quality Relevant Content
    Give users all the information they need so they do not have to search your site for all the relevant information about a product or service. If including all of this information is going to be cumbersome simply provide the links they will need to access the proper information. This also holds true for any company specific information (phone number, hours of operation, email address, live chat, etc.)
  3. Display Important Information Prominently
    Think about how fast you change the channel or navigate to a new web page if you are not interested in what you see. Now imagine you are doing both at the same time. Multitasking essentially cuts users’ attention span in half. Therefore, whatever information is going to be the biggest deciding factor in a users’ decision to purchase should be the first thing that hits them when they visit. So whether you are in an industry that is highly price sensitive or status conscious tell customers what they need to hear first. After that initial hook you can go into more detail about your products and your company.
  4. Easy Navigation
    A site that is intuitive and flows well in terms of design and navigation will keep users on your site a lot longer. The longer customers stay on your site the more apt they are to visit more pages (which is positively correlated with both building brand recognition and also converting visits into sales).
  5. Minimize Dependency on Sound
    If you have a site that relies on sound to introduce your product, explain your business, or as a call to action you may be losing out the more users multitask. If the majority of internet users are also watching tv, talking on the phone, reading, etc. their sound is probably going to be turned off. Even if their sound is on, studies have shown that many internet users are listing to the radio or music. Having your music or talk radio interrupted is widely viewed as an annoyance, and usually causes users to leave the site quickly.

The most important thing to remember when looking at your site to determine if changes need to be made to accommodate for internet multitaskers is how you would feel if you were in their shoes. So get online, take your shoes off, kick back on the couch with the TV on, call a friend, and re-evaluate how you see your website.

-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist

Leave a Reply