We have already learned earlier that we humans, are easily distracted (A Psychologist’s take on UX Design – Part II). There is so much going on around us, all at the exact same time, that it is difficult for our brain to process all of the information and pay attention to everything physically. So what it does is, it filters out most of the data and only keeps what it can process.
Everyday on the web, new websites and applications are being available and it is now harder than ever to catch the attention of users. We, ourselves, browse through so many sites and applications during the day, but how much attention do we actually pay to the details?
Psychology researchers Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons have been studying human attention for over a decade. What they found from their research is that, what we pay attention to is based primarily on what we want to accomplish. When we log on to a website, we already have a task that we want to accomplish. Chances are, we will be so focused on reaching our goal that we will miss any new changes on the website. Researchers call this phenomenon “Inattentional Blindness”.
Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to recognize an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight (Wikipedia).
Imagine spending months on user research and design to come up with a new feature for your website. You implement the feature to your site and wait for users to start using it. After checking the analytics, you realise that users are completely ignoring it even though it is right there in front of their eyes. Chances are there is nothing wrong with your design but it has been ignored because our brains often fails to process what is there in front of us.
The solution is pretty simple. They are: