Your average attention span is now 8 seconds, one second shorter than that of a goldfish. That’s the word from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Yes, thanks to the internet, I have 8 seconds to grip you with this missive. And it seems our attention spans are shortening…

Several client companies and 2 companies of which I’m on the board are in the process of investigating how to improve the user experience of those who interact with them. When I point out that the people whose experience they’re trying to improve have a shorter attention span than a goldfish it generally leads to some surprised, self-conscious laughter.

The laughter morphs into grimaces when I proceed to tell them that their problem isn’t really that people have short attention spans…8 seconds!…but that their brand and how they present it has a short attention span.

Hard reality sinks in as they realize that they must deliver a user experience that continuously captures someone’s attention for hours, days, weeks, even years—a never-ending stream of 8 second long wonderment.  Always.

If you take 9 seconds the goldfish are still engaged but your customers and prospects have moved on to the next cool thing that flashed in front of them.

And don’t forget, you must continuously ensure a spectacular user experience while remaining true to your brand and the values and culture that underlay it.

You have to be constantly paying attention to what’s going on around you, and what’s coming towards you in the future. You have to be willing to always challenge how you present everything you do and work to improve it. You have to bring in new people and new ideas to kick you in the butt and kill complacency. You have to have a learning culture where everyone is always improving their skills and adding new ones.

Most important, you have to be willing to  take  risks through continuous experimentation and change. And, once again, you must have and always follow your guiding principles and values that underlie all you do.

The good news is that if you do all of this, you will attract  and maintain the attention of many  people who will love what you stand for and the experience they get every time they have an interaction with you. Every time. If they see you, if they call you, if they look at your website or social media feeds, if they use your product or service, they will always have an exceptional experience.

 And if you start noticing you’re attracting more goldfish than people…your user experience is slipping

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