Web usability icon Jakob Nielsen has released a study about the changing habits of Web users. He found that users are more savvy about finding information on the Web, with about 75% reporting that they find what they need on the Web, compared to 60% in 1999. Users don’t like to dawdle on sites, they instead like to get what they want and get out. They don’t like widgets and applications that bog down sites. And, they don’t like to be lured via marketing or promotions.
“People want sites to get to the point, they have very little patience,” Nielsen said. “I do not think sites appreciate that yet,” he added. “They still feel that their site is interesting and special and people will be happy about what they are throwing at them.”
Personally, I think companies would be smart to consider more organic, community strategies for getting their messages out, because today’s users can tell a promotion or marketing campaign when they see one. They know that this information is biased. Companies need to find ways to use word-of-mouth, but more in a word-of-Web way. Marketing needs to embrace information, humor, entertainment. It’s way more than simply focusing on exposure.
Most don’t even like to go to home pages and drill down for information. They prefer to search and go directly to what they need.
Basically, it’s all about search. “In the long run anyone who wants to beat Google just has to make a better search,” said Dr Nielsen.
So, this makes Search Engine Optimization all the more relevant. And, then branding and usability become important when users get to any of your pages.