Customers are much more likely to get impatient with your website than they are to be bored with it.
When was the last time you were bored with a website? Do you get bored with Google? Do you get bored with Amazon? Perhaps the last book you bought from Amazon was boring, but was the Amazon website itself boring to use?
Do you get bored with Facebook or Twitter? You might get bored with your friends but it's unlikely that you've been bored by the websites themselves. When Facebook announced that they were redesigning their website did everyone go: "Great! We're so bored with the old one!"
Quite the opposite actually. "After a redesign in March, a Facebook poll revealed that 94 percent of users didn't like the changes," Caitlin McDevitt wrote for Slate in February 2010. "When Facebook introduced its News Feed in 2006, students organized to protest against it."
The Facebook changes may have been the right thing to do. In the long-term, people may have found them very useful. However, people liked the old design because they were used to it. They didn't want change. Often, the organization wants change much more than the customer.
Why do organizations want change? A number of reasons. To make more money. To improve the quality of the service or product. Because a new manager has been appointed and they need to make their mark. Because the marketing department is bored with the old design. Just bored. It's a few years old and they're sick of looking at it.
Redesigning is fun. You feel important. Agencies are great at making you feel that way. They show you way cool designs and you can bring all your intellectual and artistic skills to bear as you discuss way deep things like emotional appeal and branding. Be careful.
The best word to describe your customers on your website is "impatient." The vast majority of them are at your website to get something done as quickly as possible. The only people who are likely to complain about your website design are website designers. Craigslist is constantly being told that its site is boring. "But the people I hear it from," Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wired in 2009, "are invariably working for firms that want the job of redoing the site."
This is a really difficult message for marketers and communicators to hear, but we need to hear it and really, really listen. Those of us who think the essence of our jobs is to make our websites exciting don't have much of a future in the web industry.
I have said it so many times: Offline marketing and communication is about getting attention. Web marketing and communication is about PAYING attention. The difference in the getting attention skill set and the paying attention skill set is the difference between night and day.
You pay attention to why customers have come to your website. You judge success based on whether they have succeeded in quickly completing the tasks they came to complete.
Focus on reducing your customers' impatience. And remember, you get paid to be bored.