I guess them that passes the laws first will get the kudos. So here’s some credit, and honestly if you google around you won’t find this law anywhere else. This is so simple yet it’s the basis of everything we do (and many things we overlook) every day online… Jerry Michalski’s “Law of Convenience.”
Every additional step that stands between people’s desires and the fulfillment of those desires greatly decreases the likelihood that they will undertake the activity.
Jerry reminds us that even one little impediment – one additional click; an additional password; a confirmation – can stand in the way of a product’s being used or not. Ya, everybody already knows this, but a reminder every once in a while is welcome because we sometimes get overly-impressed with the features of the products we’re designing and think that people will love them so much they won’t mind all of the extra steps and clicks.
So here are some examples from my life.
Web Design: The classic rule for web site design is that you lose some (half or more, I say) of your site visitors every time they have to click to move onward. This is also true, to some extent, if your web pages are long and people have to scroll down in order to finish reading the page — your site visitors will generally not read something that’s “below the fold” (it’s a newspaper term meaning the lower half of the front page, but in our case it means “below the bottom of the window”).
Hmmm: This means that over half of the people who read the top of this article will not click to see the more… portion of the article. So over half of you aren’t even readin gthis.
Games: I’ve had mixed-reality games running (on and off) for about five years now. These are games in which you send a TXT from your phone to an address then you get back instructions assigning you a task, then you accomplish that and move to the next task. We always thought that people would have fun doing these things and would go through a whole series of such tasks to complete a “game.” However we found the same attrition rate I cited above – over 50% of players dropped off every time there was an additional step. Maybe one in 10 players even finishes a 4-step game. So what have I done about this? I’ve made most of our new games one-step games, so people can choose whether to follow the entire trail or just get a quick hit. See Faces of Happiness and the Essence Project for example. In the Essence Project we incorporate videos into the community-created matrix, and that helps some, since people like watching video.