Go to this freelance web design site, and find something on their site to click on. When you find something, click on it. Don’t forget to come back here! I forecast that it will take you about 21 seconds to click one of their links. Don’t worry, there are no ads on the site, it’s just another webmaster site like this one. It’s just a simple example for you to do. Now find out why I said it will take you 21 seconds.
It’s Hick’s Law
If you want, you can find the technical definition of Hick’s Law on Wiki, but basically it is T=hk. Time (T) equals the volume of information (h) times roughly 150 miliseconds (k). The freelance web design site I mentioned had fourteen links, all were visible on my screen at least, so 14*1.5 (I use 1.5 because it equals 150 miliseconds), and the answer is 21 seconds. This is an extremely generalized way to use this, but it will work as an example. Using Hick’s Law, I am guessing you will take about 21 seconds to click on one of their links. Try it on a site that you are not familiar with.
Best Web Image has bout 70 links on the home page. I counted my Tag Cloud as one, because I think it is seen as one option. 70*1.5=105 seconds. When I looked into my stats for August my average visitor moved on from the home page somewhere between the 1-3 minute bracket. I looked at the stats from several of my sites for August, and many of them seemed follow Hick’s Law. For those of you interested, the average visitor on this site initially spends 1-3 minutes on the home page, and spends over five minutes per session.
Keep Things Moving
So why is Hick’s Law important? You might think, hey I could put a thousand links on my site, and my visitors will stay on the site for twenty-five minutes. The longer they stay on my site, they more they must like it right? Well, obviously that doesn’t work.
Hick’s Law is important to know, because it’s a great reminder. The more stuff you have on the page, the longer it will take your visitor to figure out. The longer it takes them to figure out, the less likely they will complete that desired visitor action. You have to keep your visitors moving, and not let them die of old age on your site.
What did Freelance Web Design do? They considered that time is precious on that first visit, and made the options limited and obvious. Now I just wish they would add a little text description to those main menu buttons:)