Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why you shouldn't celebrate your prospects' birthdays

Your prospects are from Venus; your Web designers are from Mars

Don't believe everything your 25-year old Web designers tell you about "what's easy" especially if your target audience consists of 50-year-old corporate managers, says Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen in a new study released a few days ago.

He finds the ability of the average business prospect to navigate your site decreases by .8% a year. And if your prospects were late to the Web, watch out. They're going downhill even faster. Every birthday is a nail in the navigational coffin.

His comments came just as I was reviewing one of our subscriber's sites.
It used an 8-point font that I found nearly impossible to read even with my glasses on, and the copy was dense and hard to navigate.

"How old was your designer?" I asked the marketer.

"Twenty five," she replied in an email.

Bingo.

Nielsen's newest study focuses on the abilities of people between 25 and 60, in other words, 49% of the population.

Nielsen writes: "Almost all B2B sites target this age group. This is especially true if we extend the "mainstream" definition to include people up to 65 years old; beyond that, we officially start calling them "seniors" in our usability research."
I hope we're not having twins

What does this mean? Test your site out on average users. Even five prospects are enough to get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

Maybe we could get young Web designers to wear "old glasses," a twist on the pregnancy empathy bellies (see photo on left from empathybelly.org which sells them for $399) that teenagers and adult males are sometimes encouraged to wear to understand the realities of carrying a child for 9 months .

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online blog editor Julie Power Thursday April 3 at 9 a.m.

PS. I carried twins for nearly 39 weeks. They weighed nearly 7 lbs each so these kids don't know nothing. Yes, I am a hero!


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