November 6, 2006
By E. Brown
The two boys slowly crept up toward the mouth of the ancient cave, unaware of the monstrous danger that lurked within it’s rancid subterranean interior…
Have I got your attention?
Authors Thomas Davenport and John Beck of the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change say the economy of the future will be one based on attention. Acquiring, maintaining, and managing attention will be key to the business paradigm of the future.
This certainly has interesting implications on how we might strategize business for the years ahead. Yet today, capturing the eyes of Web surfers and then keeping them is a goal no one with a Web site will refute. We, as content developers and sellers, need to be the most concerned about this because we have businesses to grow and bottom lines to keep.
What are ways by which we can hold the long-term attention of our online visitors and customers? Davenport and Beck suggest some of the following Attention Structures that promote “stickiness”:
- Change – Provide changes in format, tone, content, etc. This will keep the site interesting to new and repeat visitors.
- Storytelling – We all love stories – engage your visitor’s imagination and you’ll capture his attention.
- Convenient Entry and Exit – This may seem contrary at first, but making it easy for users to get in and out will keep them coming back instead of getting frustrated.
- Action – Avoid passive media. Engage the user through surveys, message boards, chat, games, and other activities.
- Don’t Interrupt – Interrupting the flow of information should be kept to a minimum. Pop-ups and flickering banners can distract and even destroy the user’s attention.
- Make it Relevant – If a user feels his/her needs are being met, you will keep them coming back for more.
- Promote Community – Create a sense of belonging, personalization, and customization. This allows your users to interact with the site and to maintain a sense of ownership over their Web experience.
- Ease of Use – Be considerate of low-bandwidth users. Create an intuitive navigation and make searching your site easy.
Whether you agree or disagree with this concept, you have to admit that it gets your attention (pun intended). In this world where there are so many competing voices and options, we truly need to be wise in our efforts to share information and provide inspiration.
So, what happened with the two boys walking up to the cave? You’ll have to continue to read this blog to find out… or not.
(Adapted from an article I wrote in June 2003 and published in the NRB trade magazine.)
November 4, 2006
I hate whining. Whining is not about improving. My desire is to always offer opportunities for improvement for the benefit of myself and others. With that said, any rants I have I will try to aim for those goals.
I recently lost the Domain I had for over 10 years. I originally set it up under a small local Service Provider and tried to move it to another, more prominent national ISP, about 5 years ago. That’s where the confusion started. It seems, the local ISP put themselves as the Administrative Contact and therefore had to request the move. That set me off on a paper maze attempting to get the admin contact changed to myself (to prevent any future issues). Notarization, change fees, and signatures were all sent and the process seemed to be complete.
Imagine my dismay when I learned last year that the process was never completed. The local ISP was bought out and I can only assume records were lost in the process. Around this same time the national ISP let me know that my domain was about to expire. I attempted to contact the local provider and correct the admin issue. Meanwhile the domain came “under dispute” by the national ISP, who was unable to get clarification from the local group.
Now Comes The Rub
Instead of contacting me and manually freezing the account until all issues were resolved, the automated process set by the national provider put the domain up for auction! I learned this after failed attempts to contact the local ISP (which had been sold once again) and then going back the national group to pay for another 3 years on the domain.
I immediately contacted the national ISP and started the email/phone process to try and stop the auction and keep the domain. While going through proper channels, my domain was sold! The national provider said, “sorry, but was an automated process and we could do nothing about it.”
Change Poor Business Processes
My suggestion to the company for the benefit of those who come behind was to change this business process model. If a domain comes under dispute it should be set aside until the issue is resolved, not automatically put up for auction to the highest bidder. While automation is a wonderful way to accomplish routine tasks, the subtle nuances in a dispute need to be processed in a different manner.
My prayer is that no one else has to suffer through poorly instituted business processes like the one described above. Whenever you encounter something such as this, bring it to the attention of those in charge for your sake and the sake of others coming behind.