In an age where arts organizations are learning how to re-engage patrons with remote activity, it never hurts to reexamine what we take for granted. To that end, there’s a fantastic article by Victor Yocco at SmashingMagazine.com that provides exactly the sort of perspective our field can benefit from when engaging digital initiatives.
Out of the gate, Yocco does a good job at framing the discussion by reviewing two sub-types of attention that are most applicable to these efforts:
This type of attention is brief, perhaps even thought of as a quick distraction, that attracts someone’s attention. Think of a flash of light that draws your attention and then quickly disappears.
This is what we think of when we talk about focus and the ability to concentrate; deep attention that allows you to intake and process information or perform a task requiring a longer duration to complete.
He makes it clear that neither type is better, rather, the goal is learning how to capitalize on both by changing the way you design and deliver messages. To that end, one of the primary keys is research.
The bit that’s really worth absorbing is under the Key Questions For Stakeholders And Users header. There’s a simple, two column chart that helps keep your research focused:
Answering the questions in Column A will provide the clarity you need to ensure your product is intentional and ethical. If you are unable to effectively answer these questions, your product needs more discovery and better justification.
Answering the questions in Column B will ensure you provide the correct solutions to gain and maintain user attention, as well as respect them as users.
Lastly, if you just want to swing by for a single actionable take-away, scroll down to the Clear Clutter/Remove Distractions sections. The header title alone is a good reminder for a field that is trained to cram as many donate CTAs as possible into every last millimetre of white space.