Monday, July 28, 2008

Interactive is a meaningless word

Making websites more useful, not just interactive ...

I have never quite understood what the word 'interactive' means in the context of the Web. The Web is inherently active in that its corner stone is the link. The link is a call to action. We go to the Web to act, to do. Saying that a website needs to become more interactive is like saying that a football game needs more football.

In a Web context, 'interactive' is thus a meaningless word and it tends to be used by cool, meaningless people. In fact, the objective of making a website 'more' interactive is often absolutely not what the customer wants.

Customers don't want interactivity from your website. They want results. They want to do what they came to do as quickly as possible. You have to interact with a hotel booking process in order to book a room, but you want that interaction to be as fast and painless as possible.

One of Google's key design principles: "Every millisecond counts. Nothing is more valuable than people's time", it goes on to state." Google pages load quickly, thanks to slim code and carefully selected image files. The most essential features and text are placed in the easiest-to-find locations. Unnecessary clicks, typing, steps, and other actions are eliminated.
A core objective of Google is to get you off its website as quickly as possible. It has a relentless focus on making the first result the right result so that you will leave its website in the shortest time possible. Google makes most of its money from advertising.

'Save people time' should be written in 10 foot letters across the walls of every web design team's office. Do not listen to the fools who talk about more interactivity. It is from the minds of these fools that the truly awful Flash Intros crawled out. Focus all your energy on saving your customers time. Be useful. Be functional. Be brief."

This is the edited version of article written by Gerry McGovern.

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