It happened practically overnight. Screens are a part of everyday life. We consume the majority of our knowledge from them be it from a television, computer screen, or our cell phones. It’s now getting harder and harder to remember a time when you didn’t consume the news from your phone or make a quick purchase on Amazon to round out your day.
The New York Times put out an interesting article as we were all sheltering in place declaring that the screen time debate was over and screens have won. Sherry Turkle, author of “Alone Together,” shared her thoughts that some of the goals of the movement she inspired may have been focused in the wrong direction. “I think that this reveals the screen-time issue as a misplaced anxiety,” Ms. Turkle said. “Now, forced to be alone but wanting to be together, so many are discovering what screen time should be.”
No one is suggesting that screens can replace in-person experiences, but what does a world look like where screens are our primary means of connection? This is a question we’ve all been forced to answer as many face-to-face experiences were no longer possible. As we slowly ease our way back into responsible in-person engagement, the impact of COVID-19 has permanently changed the online experience.
It’s time to consider the shift that has occurred online and what that means for you.
Experiences will remain online.
You already know about the dreaded (or beloved, depending on your personality) Zoom happy hour. We’re in a world of all virtual everything.
Conferences are starting to go virtual, some of which have been in-person only since World War II. Though some will miss the rubbing of elbows that comes from networking, most are unlikely to miss the financial cost of traveling and time spent away from family. It will be interesting to see which conferences continue to offer a virtual ticket moving forward or simply continue to remain in an online-only format.
Additionally, education is taking place virtually. Regardless of your school district's decision, a staggering 47% of parents considered homeschooling as of July. Typically only 3% of students would be homeschooled in a given year. This means that there is a demand for virtual content like never before.
Outside of conferences and traditional education, take a moment to consider cultural attractions that were regularly educating and engaging visitors in person. Blooloop reported that 64% of people say they will continue to watch or participate in online experiences even after attractions re-open.
All of this begs the question, how is your organization educating your audience online? Does your content provide value? Focusing on moving your experiences online for the long-term rather than just the short-term will yield results.
User experience is vital.
There have been several studies that have come out against excess screen time. We believe more and more research will continue to surface about how we are all too digitally connected. However, this doesn’t mean we’ll all finally be convinced and throw our smartphones in the trash. What is more likely is that we will all become more aware of how much time we are spending online and where that time is spent. Apple’s introduction of screen time reports in 2018 has already increased awareness for many and Android has introduced a similar digital wellbeing feature.
As users become more particular with where and how they spend their time online, user experience will continue to become even more vital. According to Neil Patel, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Your customers have options, so you have to be the best one.
If you’re creating great online experiences, but no one can find them it’s wasted effort. When they do find your experience are they abandoning your page due to a difficult to use interface or slow load times? Creating a great user experience means that your messages are clear, load times are fast, and that you're easy to find online.
What are you doing to ensure your customers are spending their screen time on you?
Photo: Caitlin McGarry
You agree, screens have won but you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you need to do in order to stand out online? We get it, it’s a job for a team of experts, not just one person. We can jump in to create content that is engaging while also optimizing your site for faster load times and better search results. This will help ensure your customers spend their screen time on you.
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