Eight Seconds (and the importance of proximity)

  • When you’re promoting a service, do I see testimonials from those you’ve worked with?
  • If your soliciting donations, is it simple (and clear) to give?
  • You’re writing awesome content, but are you making it easy for me to subscribe for updates?
  • Are you offering upsell opportunities at check out?
  • When I read about your product are you also showing it to me (can I physically see it?)
  • Can I easily follow you on Twitter and like you on Facebook?

These are the kinds of questions I think about when working with a client. Whether we realize it or not, they’re expectations we all have in today’s world of web browsing. The word that consistently comes up, again and again? Proximity.

This begs the question, “what do you want people to do?” – While reading your website, flipping through a brochure, or watching a video – what is the next step? Buy? Subscribe? Click? Share? What action are you prompting, and more importantly, is the desired action clear and accessible?

Proximity is all about putting together the pieces and grouping things effectively. The correct use of proximity in layout and design has a huge impact on the overall user experience and most importantly, to your bottom-line results.

I’m a big believer that less is more. Effective design isn’t about flashy GIFs and bright colors (in fact, that’s the opposite of effective design) – rather, it’s about clarity and simplicity – guiding users/consumers/readers toward a desired action.

Focusing on proximity is about taking someone from A to B without obstacle or delay – and with studies showing we have an average attention span of 8 seconds (8 seconds!), it’s more important than ever to get to the point (quickly) and make it easy for folks to do…whatever it is you want them to do.

Take 8 seconds today and see if you pass the proximity test. Is is clear, in the first few seconds of someone visiting your website, what action(s) they should take?

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