The 3-Second Lifespan Of A Web Site

9 Jul

Great excerpt from the New York Times of a book called Startup 101. It talks about the intense competitive pressure on new sites trying to break through into the public mainstream. The logic is one of the most concise ways I’ve seen the often competing interests of usability and design put into perspective.

If you don’t bother to read the rest of the excerpt, at least consider this:

Here is what an insanely great Web product looks like to the average user right now and through the next 3 years:

•30 seconds: “I get it.”
•3 minutes: “I’ve used it and still get it, and it has not annoyed me yet.”
•3 days: “I find this really useful or fun.”
•3 weeks: “I am raving about this to other people.”
•3 months: “I couldn’t imagine not having this, and I’m boring my friends telling them about it.”
•3 years: “How weird to see this on Oprah.”

Of particular note are the three minutes and the three week marks. If we annoy users it is worse than never engaging them at all. And if they aren’t telling their friends, then the ROI will be sharply suppressed. I’m not sure how I feel about any site I’ve worked on requiring three years to get on Oprah.

Then again, I don’t know how I feel about Oprah doing justice to any site I’ve worked on.

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