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Digital consumers are increasingly comfortable with the medium


We are all familiar with the old road-rage analogy of the congenial, neighborly man or woman who suddenly becomes a raving speed demon when they get behind the wheel of a car. Well, there is something about the immediacy and anonymity of the digital experience that has a similar effect on people. It’s always risky to generalize and make assumptions about people – especially in a field as dynamic and fast-moving as this one. The only real way to know your market intimately is to conduct original research within your particular target group.

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Know the instrument

Many online consumers have been using the internet for many years at this stage – and while the user demographic is still skewed in favour of younger people, older users are becoming increasingly internet savvy. ‘It’s almost like a piano player who plays faster once they know the instrument. In the beginning people “pling, pling, pling” very carefully, and then they move on to playing symphonies,’ said web usability guru Jacob Nielsen in an interview with the BBC. As people become more comfortable with the medium they use it more efficiently and effectively, which means they don’t hang around for long, your content needs to deliver what they want, and it needs to deliver quickly.

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The digital world, where everything happens at a million miles per hour, consumers have grown accustomed to getting their information on demand from multiple sources simultaneously. Their time is a precious commodity, so they want information in a format that they can scan for relevance before investing time in examining the detail. Designers and marketers need to accommodate this desire for ‘scanability’ and instant gratification when constructing their online offering. Think about ‘value for time’ as well as ‘value for money’.

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