Stop Overwhelming Your Online Customers With Information Overload — Hook Them In By Revamping Your Website In This Way.

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Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content. I don’t know about you, but it seems like there is hardly enough time to gain users’ interest, let alone relay the information you want to share — and the information they want to find.

However, following best practices, there is no reason to bombard users with an avalanche of information when they land on your homepage. While there may be a lot of great information about your business, putting it in their faces when they arrive can have the inverse effect, making users feel overwhelmed and pushing them to leave the site.

So, what is the alternative? Thoughtfully crafted messages and content aligned with the customer journey and revealed through a slow, strategic drip known as progressive disclosure.

Related: Your Online Customer Experience Is More Than a Buzzword — It’s the Backbone of Your Business. Here’s How to Optimize It.

But what is progressive disclosure?

Progressive disclosure is about strategically revealing the information a user wants or needs at the precise moment the customer wants or needs it (rather than throwing it at them upfront). This is essentially a strategic approach to planning and releasing content throughout the customer journey to maximize engagement and move a customer through the conversion funnel.

Here’s an example: If you have a product-heavy website, the navigation should direct the user through a seamless navigation. If the navigation is designed strategically to align with the customer journey, then each click is a point on the path of progressive disclosure. As users move around the site, they will slowly but surely learn more about the products and services and find the information they need. This is precisely why websites use a thoughtful navigation system based on logic and integrated into the information architecture that outlines the content and where it should be placed within the site.

Why is progressive disclosure powerful?

The simple answer is that this process is customer-centric. It focuses on what customers want to accomplish rather than what you, the business owner, want to share.

In addition, progressive disclosure accomplishes the following:

  • Reduces friction: Information overload leads to confusion and decision paralysis. By presenting information relevant to the user’s immediate needs, you remove unnecessary hurdles and guide them seamlessly toward their goals.
  • Boosts engagement: Curiosity thrives when there is something more to discover. As users uncover new features and functionalities, their interest remains piqued, encouraging further exploration and deeper product engagement.
  • Builds trust: When users feel they’re being led, not overwhelmed, trust flourishes. Progressive disclosure shows respect for their time and attention, fostering a positive relationship between them and your product.

Related: 7 Ecommerce Customer Experience Strategies for Effective Branding in 2024

Want to rework your website so it’s aligned with your customers?

If you want to rework your website or consider how your content is aligned with your customers, here are a few considerations that will help ensure you are applying progressive disclosure principles:

  • Map the customer journey. Understand the different stages users go through, from awareness to consideration, purchase and beyond. Identify their needs and pain points at each stage.
  • Prioritize information. Categorize features and information based on their importance and relevance to each stage of the journey. Highlight core functionalities initially and unveil advanced features later.
  • Use microlearning. Chunk information into digestible pieces, delivered through tutorials, tooltips, and interactive prompts. This makes learning effortless and avoids cognitive overload.
  • Leverage visual cues. Employ clear design elements like hierarchy, icons, and animation to guide users’ attention and highlight key information.
  • Gather feedback. Continuously analyze user behaviors on your site and collect feedback to understand what resonates. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and implement valuable changes.
  • Use multiple touchpoints to communicate. While this strategy can be applied to a website, it applies to all digital communication channels. Most who visit your website either have a specific reason or are fact-finding. So consider using other digital channels, such as SMS and digital cards, to communicate more important (or urgent) messages in real-time.

Applying progressive disclosure isn’t just about withholding information; it’s about crafting a captivating narrative that unfolds as the user interacts with your brand. Applying this approach can foster trust, increase engagement, and ultimately create satisfied customers.

Remember, we’re not just selling products or services; we’re guiding users on a journey, and every step along the way matters. By unveiling the right information at the right time, we transform their experience from overwhelming to empowering, paving the way for sustainable success.

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