Web users are getting more ruthless and impatient – Search Engines scores over Content portals?

Usability guru, Jakob Nielsen shares an interesting finding that goes against the wishes of content portals:

Instead of dawdling on websites many users want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave. Most ignore efforts to make them linger and are suspicious of promotions designed to hold their attention..many are "hot potato" driven and just want to get a specific task completed. [source]

He cites couple of reasons for this –

  • The designs have become better but also users have become accustomed to that interactive environment
  • Web users were also getting very frustrated with all the extras, such as widgets and applications, being added to sites to make them more friendly.

Interesting stats

In 2004, about 40% of people visited a homepage and then

drilled down to where they wanted to go and 60% use a deep link that took them directly to a page or destination inside a site. In 2008, said Dr Nielsen, only 25% of people travel via a homepage. The rest search and get straight there.

What does this mean?

Search engines rule the world. Content portals, no matter how hard they try will have a difficulty in retaining the users (and monetizing).

Success metrics need to be revisited – it should not be pageviews anymore (and am not talking about AJAX and PV issue). UUs and Returning frequency is what really matters. At the same time, content portals should rethink their push-approach (for e.g. rss feeds) and make that as part of the content strategy.

Jakob makes another interesting point – widgets are not adding value to sites, they actually are affecting the load time badly.

Do you agree with this? I think most of the widget story is over and except the ones which serve ads, others aren’t very helpful.

What’s your opinion?

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