Why not make web users jump through hoops?

Why not make web users jump through hoops?
Written by Edward Fraser

When Heston Blumenthal presents a steaming plate of snail porridge to his customers, what is he trying to achieve? If it’s instant gratification then he’d be better stubbing his diners’ toes as they enter the restaurant.

I suspect that, for him, success has resulted from challenging the people that pay his bills. Your only choice at The Fat Duck restaurant is a £220 tasting menu and the three-month waiting list of diners will droolingly pay that, and more, each and every time they travel out of their way to eat there.

It’s with that in mind, I ask; is an easy online user-experience the right goal to set? Perhaps there are rewards to be had from asking more of your users.

I’m pretty sure the reason why we all use Facebook so frequently is because we have invested time and effort building our social profiles over the last half decade – to the extent that it’s now replaced hilarious family photo albums where you and your brothers are all dressed in the same denim shorts and shirt combo 

Anyway, when we marketing folk talk about “user experience”, should we be more challenging? Can we ask more of our users for bigger benefits? I think so. 

Yes, a smooth brand to sales process is always a winner. That’s something that everyone who owns or promotes a business should know about, and we should all already have a crisp idea of how to sell to our customers.

The aspect of online user experience that many don’t know is how to provide an afterglow for their customers. The art of providing fresh realms of online excitement and interest is something that many miss out on. 

Make users think

I’m not proud after shoveling cake down my throat but when my name’s written on it and I’m blowing out sparklers to a round-of-applause, the process is a lot more rewarding – we all remember the moments when we’re made to act, think and remember.   

With that in mind, I’d ask questions when someone says that your online user journey needs to be simple. We all get little gratification from signing-in to Twitter, but by crafting 140 characters to match a solid selfie to a round of retweets is gratifying. Our efforts as a user often translate into rewards. 

In short, logical web design that’s governed by strategic and modular thinking is a good thing. However, businesses that are confined by it are not. Challenge users to invest their fingers and thoughts in an experience that will make you more memorable. Teach them something. Ask them questions. Provide an afterglow. Make them eat snail porridge. 

Let me know your thoughts below.

If you'd like to start challenging your users, give us a call on: 

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