May 24, 2008

Web Users Becoming Less Patient

New research shows that people are becoming more selfish on the Web.

According to the annual report from Jakob Nielsen, an expert in Web trends, web surfers are becoming less patient. When it comes to finding the site they need, people would rather get to the chase than pay attention to promotions designed to catch their attention.

Success rates measuring whether people achieve what they set out to do online are now about 75%, said Dr Nielsen. This figure stood at 60% in 1999.

There were two factors involved, Nielsen said.

"The designs have become better but also users have become accustomed to that interactive environment," said Nielsen.

Now, when people go online they know what they want and how to do it, he said.

"Web users have always been ruthless and now are even more so," said Dr Nielsen.

"People want sites to get to the point, they have very little patience."

"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."

Research also showed that since users are accustomed to the interactive environments, they are becoming increasingly skeptical of the extras like widgets and applications. These also deter user traffic because they tend to cause a page to load slower.

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, only 25% of people travel via a homepage. The rest search and get straight there, Nielsen said.

"Basically search engines rule the web," he said.

However, he added that search engines aren't exactly flawless.

"When you watch people search we often find that people fail and do not get the results they were looking for," he said.

"In the long run anyone who wants to beat Google just has to make a better search," said Dr Nielsen.