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    Optimize Your Church Website for How People Think

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    MonJan232012 ByBryan YoungTaggedUser Experience (UX)
    In their article, "The Psychologist's View of UX," UX Magazine explains the how the working of the human brain effects how we should create websites.

    Below are five facts about how people behave and how we we should take these behaviors in account when creating church websites. 


    1. People Crave Information


    People will always desire more and new knowledge that comes from consuming information. Your church website exists mainly to help quench that thirst, so make sure you provide the information visitors seek. Check which words and phrases people are searching on your website--maybe they can't find this information easily enough.

    More wisdom from UX Magazine...
    • "People will often want more information than they can actually process. Having more information makes people feel that they have more choices. Having more choices makes people feel in control. Feeling in control makes people feel they will survive better."
    • "People need feedback. The computer doesn't need to tell the human that it is loading the file. The human needs to know what is going on."

    Read it: 4 Questions You Should Answer on Your Church Website's Home Page


    2. People Don't Want to Work or Think More Than They Have To


    UX Magazine explains, "People will do the least amount of work possible to get a task done." This means not overwhelming users with more "stuff"--links, banners, graphics, text--than necessary. Find out, through analytics and user testing, what the most important information is to users and make it easier to find. Through the same means, find out what is not important and get rid of it.

    More wisdom from UX Magazine...
    • "It is better to show people a little bit of information and let them choose if they want more details."
    • "Instead of just describing things, show people an example."
    • "Only provide the features that people really need. Don't rely on your opinion of what you think they need; do user research to actually find out. Giving people more than they need just clutters up the experience."
    • "Provide defaults. Defaults let people do less work to get the job done."

    Read it: Your Church Website's Reservoir of Goodwill (and 3 Ways to Keep it Full)


    3. People Have Limitations


    Even though people often crave more information than they can process (see #1), their brains do have limits. Making your content readable and eliminating unnecessary content will fill visitors with the right information instead of the useless.

    More wisdom from UX Magazine...
    • "People can only look at so much information or read so much text on a screen without losing interest. Only provide the information that's needed at the moment."
    • "Make the information easy to scan."
    • "People can't multi-task. The research is very clear on this, so don't expect them to."
    • "People prefer short line lengths, but they read better with longer ones! It's a conundrum, so decide whether preference or performance is more important in your case, but know that people are going to ask for things that actually aren't best for them."

    Read it: 3 Things to Remove to Improve Church Website User Experience


    4. People Make Mistakes


    None of us are perfect. This is what makes the good news of the gospel so good! Translate that to your church website's usability by knowing that your visitors will ultimately get lost, click on a link that goes a different place then they thought, or find something hard to understand.

    Try to anticipate these future errors by making a list of all the tasks a visitor might try to complete on your website--are they easy to complete? If not, try to find a way to prevent these mistakes.

    More wisdom from UX Magazine...
    • Preventing errors from occurring is always better than helping people correct them once they occur. The best error message is no message at all.
    • If a task is error-prone, break it up into smaller chunks.
    • If the user makes and error and you can correct it, then do so and show what you did.
    • Whoever is designing the UX makes errors too, so make sure that there is time and energy for iteration, user feedback, and testing.

    Read it: 10 Mistakes Not to Make on Your Church Website


    5. People are Social


    UX Magazine explains that, "People will always try to use technology to be social. This has been true for thousands of years." You can cater to this desire by creating content that is sharable between groups of people. Videos, blogs, interesting stories, and podcasts are all ways to spark the social fire in your website visitors.

    More wisdom from UX Magazine:

    • If you do a favor for me then I will feel indebted to give you a favor back (reciprocity). Research shows that if you want people to fill out a form, give them something they want and then ask for them to fill out the form, not vice versa.
    • When you watch someone do something, the same parts in your brain light up as though you were doing it yourself (called mirror neurons). We are programmed with our biology to imitate. If you want people to do something then show someone else doing it.
    • You can only have strong ties to 150 people. Strong ties are defined as ties that with people you are in close physical proximity to. But weak ties can be in the thousands and are very influential (à la Facebook).

    Read it: 4 Reasons Your Church Website Should Tell Your Story
    5 Reasons Why Your Church Website Should Have a Blog

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