October 23, 2014

Pass the 10-second test

The longer Web visitors stay, the longer they’ll stay

Should I stay or should I go?

HOW LONG IS TOO LONG? Web visitors decide whether to stay or go in 10 seconds or less.

That’s a question your Web visitors ask themselves every second they spend on your page.

Now new research shows that if you can get your visitors to spend 10 seconds on your Web page, they’ll likely stay longer. And the longer they stay, writes usability expert Jakob Nielsen, the longer they’ll stay.

Web pages age ‘negatively.’

For the research, Chao Liu and colleagues from Microsoft Research crunched the numbers on page visit durations for more than 200,000 Web pages over nearly 10,000 visits. They learned that the amount of time users spend on a Web page follows a “Weibull distribution.”

Easy for them to say.

Weibull is a reliability-engineering model that’s used to analyze the time it takes components to fail. Given that it’s worked fine until now, the model says, it will likely fail at X time.

Most Web pages age “negatively.” That is, the longer visitors stay, the longer they’re likely to stay.

The 10-second test

Visitors decide whether they’re on the right Web page fast:

  • In the first 10 seconds, they make a critical stay-or-go decision. They’re most likely to leave during that first, fast glance at the page.
  • But if they do stay, visitors look around a bit more. In the next 20 seconds — their first 30 seconds total on the page — they’re still quite likely to leave.
  • After 30 seconds, though, the curve becomes fairly flat. Visitors continue to leave a page, but much more slowly than they did during the first 30 seconds.

If you can get people to stay for 30 seconds, there’s a good chance that they’ll stay longer — “often 2 minutes or more, which is an eternity on the Web,” Nielsen writes.

“How long will users stay on a Web page before leaving? It’s a perennial question, yet the answer has always been the same: Not very long,” Nielsen writes. “To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.”

Comments

One Response to “Pass the 10-second test”
  1. Great article. I will be dealing with some of these issues as well.
    .

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