Many web site readers are Internet virgins

Researchers at Pew Internet, the organisation that is studying the impact of the Internet on our daily life, have discovered that only a few people are what you might call active users of technology. According to their research report, 49% of people are what they call “few tech assets” people.

Essentially, this group of individuals only occasionally use technology, many of them find it annoying and 15% of people in the study have no Internet access and are satisfied without it. Only 8% of people are “omnivores” – those who use the full range of technologies, including blogging, mobile Internet and so on.

If you run your own business online, or you are an Internet marketer, or you are a daily reader of blogs then you are in this top category. If you are selling products and services online, if people contact you via the Internet a great deal or if you research your marketplace online, then it’s easy to fall into the “trap” of thinking that many people are like you.

In fact, the ubiquitous nature of the Internet makes it seem as though this technology is fundamental to most people. Every TV programme mentions web addresses, newspapers and magazines encourage you to email them and you look amazed at people you meet who don’t have an email address. Yet, according to the Pew Internet study, almost half the people you meet are either Internet virgins or reluctant users.

For anyone running an online business this means that your web pages need to be ultra clear. Since most of the people coming online will be “newbies” they won’t be using web pages in the same way as more experienced people. Simplicity in design, a lack of fancy features and obvious “do this next” kind of buttons are things to consider. A good example is Blogger. For newcomers this has an large orange arrow which contains the link to click on each time you need to take the next action in setting up your blog. We can all follow their example and consider ways we can make our web pages easier to use and accessible to people who are newcomers to the online world – most of the people your web site will face.

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