Customer Cognitive Overload Is Why People Keep Leaving Your Website

September 30, 2016

4:35 pm

If customers aren’t staying on your website for very long, it could be because their user experience was unpleasant, complicated, and downright unreasonable, which is probably making them leave your website before making a purchase.

Lisa Murray, UX/IA Strategist at Zion and Zion Agency, explains that if customers are bouncing from your site, it could be because they’re experiencing a high cognitive load – the amount of mental capacity it takes to use a customer interface.

It doesn’t matter how tech savvy your customers might be; as the cognitive load increases, your customers will get frustrated, leave and go to a competing site, Murray said. The last thing you want is your customers losing faith in your brand because you can’t deliver a simple website.

“As they go through the site, if the company is making the user work harder than necessary to complete the task [or] if something is wrong or have too many steps with the site – then that reflects on the company as a whole and [the customer will] perceive that the website is broken and not work and make [them] not trust the brand,” said Murray in an interview with Tech.Co.

For companies trying to sell an online product or service, customers are quick to assume and slow to forgive. A poorly organized website will lend credence to the notion that your product won’t either. To prevent customer overload, Murray suggests to integrate these strategies:

Be Proactive

Get out in front of your customers and talk about the user experience before you get too deep in your development process. Allowing for helpful feedback will help you understand your customers better while creating a product they actually want to use.

Don’t Assume You Know Your Customer

There are lots of potential customers out there. Assuming you know all of them is a silly, unfounded, and dangerous claim when it comes to running a business. Make sure you take into account everyone that might be interested in your product.

“The biggest mistake I see is making assumptions and assuming they know how their customer uses the web,” Murray said.

It’s important to talk to your actual users through interviews and online surveys to get a better sense of how they are interacting with your site.

Test, Test, Test

By testing your site, you can gather data and make decisions about future iterations and customer activity. Murray suggests using testing tools like Google Analytics or UsabilityHub for your due diligence.

“Do as much testing as you can. When you are making your adjustments based on what you’ve seen in your testing you’ll have real data to use on how they’ve interacted with the interface,” Murray said.

You Have 30 Seconds to Grab Them

At times, a founder could be too close to their product to understand why customers don’t get it. In certain situations, taking two steps back can help you get into your customer’s shoes to understand their frustrations and review your message. Startups have seconds to clearly explain what they offer potential customers. So they better make the best of it.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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