An overused metaphor for sure, but it still applies. I see sites all over the place that are crushing people on the initial page view with the amount of information they are trying to present.
The scent of information is a well known concept in the circles of interaction design, but writers and editors especially seem to support the stereotype that everything needs to be seen right now. If you don’t give people anything to dig for what’s the point – and slamming people with a fistfull of information overload isn’t going to entice them, it will make them leave.
I use the concept of the fold (insert eye roll here) for instance. It’s a newspaper term and isn’t really relevant to the web. It might help gauge the overall idea behind a site, but it’s not going to determine the actionable things you are trying to offer. (http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/blasting-the-myth-of)
By not counting on the curiosity of your users you’ve essentially told them three things:
- I think you are too stupid to pick what you want, so here is what I say you want.
- You’re experience isn’t worth anything to me if it’s outside the parameters I define.
- Our content isn’t that good, so we’ll just give it all to you right now and hope something sticks.
For most organizations, your site is a very small portion of the overall experience your cohorts will have. Better make it count.