Law of Internet User Experience

Jacobs Law states that users spend most of their time on other sites and they prefer your site to work the same way. During our Q&A session at the August virtual conference, Jacob Nielsen shared his thoughts on the shortcomings of Jacob’s law.

Well, I mean, it’s a shortcoming. Could be that if you always do the same as any other site, then in terms of how do we get better? So you have to be able to do certain things differently. And it’s not the case that every design should be exactly like any other design. I mean, if that were the case, why we wouldn’t need to have any designers. We could just press the copy button and make one more copy of that thing we already have. So it’s true that every context is different. If users are different, different types of users are different and all of that. And so therefore things do need to adapt or adjust. But in the majority of issues, in terms of interaction design, that is what needs to be basically about the same as what people already expect. And because if they go to your site, they bring their expectations from the cumulative experience of all these many other sites where they do spend most of their time. I’m sorry, nobody’s that important. Right. And particularly that you I mean, any individual website is only a minority of the total user experience that a person has. And so if you try to deviate from what people expect, you are causing a big stumbling block in their ability to get at your content, at your services, at the purpose of your website. The purpose of your website is not to be be different. The purpose of your website is to deliver some underlying message. And that’s what you need to focus on, again, not to the exclusive of never, ever doing anything different. But I would say try to kind of contain that right. And try to mainly design and to take into action techniques and know navigation layout and things like that at what people expect, because then they don’t have to worry about how to operate your site. They can worry about what you’re trying to say. And that means you have much bigger chance of reaching them with your with your message or with your products or with your features or whatever it is you’re trying to deliver.

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