August 04, 2006
The Attention/Interest ratio

Browsing today I came to thinking of the data/ink ratio and how we need a similar notion for websites, called something like the attention/interest ratio. The Attention/Interest ratio measures how much of our attention is needed to use a particular website compared to how much data we find interesting we're able to get out the web site in the end. A low attention/interest ratio is better a high ratio is worse (so it's the inverse of the data/ink ratio which might lead somebody to call it the Interest/Attention ratio or just the I/A ratio - which of course might just be a nice pun on Information Architecture. Sites with high I/A would then be considered better).
What increases the A/I ? "We value your input!" customer satisfaction survey pop ups. "To server you better we would like to know your postal code" entry pages. Ads, ads, ads. Miniscule body text per page load spreading even short articles over 15 page loads. What decreases the A/I? Good IA. The Google treatment, The Wikipedia treatment. Good use of peripheral navigation (e.g. the enormous amount of possible navigations on a Flickr photo page).
There's definitely a treshold where the A/I gets too high and people just give up and go elsewhere. And there's ethics in this, not just competence: A site with a very high A/I is abusing you, not just sucking. They're getting paid to abuse you most of the time.

Posted by Claus at August 04, 2006 02:00 PM | TrackBack (0)
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