March 14, 2020

First Impressions Matter

How much time do you have to make a first impression? The reality is you don't have much time to make a good first impression. According to Microsoft Research from 2015, the average human attention span is 8 seconds down from 12 seconds in 2000. Compare this to the average attention span of a goldfish which is 9 seconds. On the web, the average may be even shorter between 3-5 seconds.

Each time a new technology is introduced, our brains get rewired. In 1900, it was books, plays, and journals that wired us. In 1950, television, radio, and movies were introduced which changed us. Then in 1980, video games, computers, and walkmans became a mainstay creating discord. Fast forward to 2000, email, texting, and the internet rewired the way we think even more. Now in 2020, the advent of virtual reality augmented reality, and artificial intelligence is upon us to impact us even further.

Each time our brain gets rewired, our attention span drops. In 1860, an average audience could watch the entirety of a play at complete attention. Then in the 1950s, television, radio, and movies dropped attention spans along with the introduction of sixty-second commercials. In the 1980s, the advent of home computers and video games along with thirty-second ads continued its drop. By the 2000s, the Internet along with YouTube and Vine made attention spans even shorter. Now, who knows what the future will bring!

The attention average span is 8 seconds and dropping. The only way to get someone's attention is to be clear, use bold choices, and deliver engaging experiences. The more relevant, immersive, and concise you are, the more engaging you will be. Get to the point because remember attention span will only be a few seconds in 25 years.

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Marc A. Majers

User experience leader, author, and DJ that is collaborative in each moment to inspire continual learning and positive feelings
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