Attention Spans Are Getting Shorter

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July 2016

You might be surprised by how little time online users are willing to spend on your website when they are searching for information about your institution. The average visitor is increasingly looking for concise, easy-to-find information that can be understood within a short time frame. When presenting information about your museum’s collection, exhibits, events or other visitation details, maintaining visitors’ interest while keeping the word count to a minimum is key.

Consider the following statistics on attention span (as reported by the website ‘Statistic Brain’):

  • The average attention span is 8.25 seconds (less than the attention span of a goldfish);
    • Fifteen years ago, the average attention span was slightly longer, at 12 seconds.
  • 17% of pageviews last less than 4 seconds, and only 4% last more than 10 minutes;
  • The average percentage of words read on a single Web page is about 28%;
    • But if the Web page’s word count is under 110 words, the average percentage read is 49%.
  • On the other hand, Internet videos seem to be more captivating. Users spend an average of 2.7 minutes per video.

The bottom line is that people generally don’t read what is written online. Users tend to scan a page very quickly and will only slow down if they find exactly what they are looking for. It’s therefore important to keep webpages short and add plenty of visuals when possible.

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One Response to Attention Spans Are Getting Shorter

  1. Nick says:

    It’s kind of scary to think that we’ve become more distracted than goldfish, but kind of funny at the same time. Wonder if this trend is ever reverse, and if it does, what will cause it to reverse.

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