Think Info

Exploring the information space

Content Strategy for Slow Experiences

After a manic couple of days, it’s only fair that the closing note – pre panel – of CS Forum should be Margot Bloomstein discussing the need to slow down a little – to consider that not all things need to happen at a breakneck pace.

Summary:

There is an industry trend towards efficiency; usually read as getting them in and out the door as quickly as possible. But is this really the best thing to be doing? There are many aspects of our lives where we want to move more slowly – where we want to stop and smell the roses. If we want to do that, doesn’t it make sense that others might not be in such a rush either?

Alongside the idea that speed might not be all-important, there are other scenarios where we need to consider slowing things down a little. If there is some external factor that limits speed – that imposes a wait – what can we do to make it a more engaging, interesting and enriching pause?

An interesting element of this whole question of time is how we perceive it. What makes one wait “longer” than another? Not too surprisingly, the answer has little to do with time. It has far more to do with frustration. (And, obviously, the inverse has to be considered: spending a lot of actual time on something does not make it frustrating. Indeed, there are many things we enjoy enough we want them to last.)

How this applies to the real world of content varies greatly.

  • Insignificant/habitual interactions should be as quick and painless as possible.
  • Education is better done through long-form than bullet points.
  • Prior to purchase, be able to answer: is it the right one? That requires consideration, so slowing down.
  • Considered, happy customers are worth far more than snap-purchasers who waste time/money with a return.
  • The discovery process – the effort invested – adds personal perceived value to the final purchase. Providing this experience opportunity shows respect for the customer.

In all… yes, time and speed matter greatly. But faster isn’t necessarily better.

Raw notes:

  •  We so often try to make processes “more efficient.” But for many brands, that’s the wrong thing to do.
  • Anticipation and discovery… … take … time.
  • While people are waiting for something (in a queue), there is a lot of time. Give that time value. Enrich it.
  • Content can change our perception of and experience. (A wait can be exciting; quick)
  • The wait may be longer, but the content-engagement turns that time into an investment.
  • People equate frustration vs delight to slow/fast. Actual speed is irrelevant.
  • Why do Amazon give so many ways of undoing a purchase? Because they make it so easy to mess up.
  • Just because we spend a lot of time on something, does that mean it was frustrating?
  • If a transaction is so insignificant that it doesn’t require a second thought, get out of the way.
  • Info as bullet points might be faster, but it won’t be retained as well. Longer content teaches better.
  • You’re buying a product. But first, let’s check that you are buying the right one for you. Slow down.
  • Which has more value? A slow but happy customer, or one who returns their snap purchase? Slow them down.
  • There’s a lot of social proof today. But of greater value is empirical (personal) proof.
  • Customer service of free bi-directional shipping may sell, but the carbon footprint is bad CSR.
  • The act of discovery – of finding what you want – adds value to it when you finally get there.
  • We all read online – because online is what we have with us.
  • Getting people to slow down… encourages them to act deliberately. With intent.
  • The visual form of long-form content is large-scope, aspirational (and custom) photography.
  • Giving people value content – long form – shows respect for their effort and interests.
  • Slowing down a purchase process isn’t about hitting this week’s sales targets. It’s about long term values.
  • Social sharing isn’t necessarily good. The alternative: “be here, now.”
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