Hypnotherapists often ask you to imagine you are laying down somewhere peaceful; perhaps you are on a deserted beach in the afternoon sunshine where all you can hear is the sound of the water gently lapping the sand as you feel the warmth of the summer on your skin. Your mind is empty as you lay there, not a care in the world. Some Internet marketers appear to have taken on this notion, with pictures of themselves at their holiday hideaway, all apparently bought with the proceeds of their online success..! Or perhaps all created in Photoshop…!
But, even if some of the Internet marketers are not being completely truthful, they do know a thing or two about controlling your brain, rather like the hypnotherapist. New research from the University of Sheffield shows that when we are provided with tranquil scenes our brains work in a different way to the occasions when we face more chaotic visual imagery. It seems that when we are surrounded by peaceful images and when our environment is peaceful, our brains work “in sync”. Whereas when we are in a more chaotic environment, the parts of our brain which should be connected get disconnected.
What this means is our brains have to work harder to process things when we are not faced with peace and tranquillity. It suggests we are much more able to focus when we are faced with simplicity. Google clearly knows this; compare the simplicity of its rather bland search page, compared with Yahoo!, for instance. Is it any wonder that Google stole the market from Yahoo! ten years ago? What Google gave us was a much more tranquil and peaceful web page than the very busy and somewhat cluttered offering from Yahoo!.
Nowadays, you can add all sorts of “widgets” to your website bringing in Tweets, items from Facebook, or feeds from other sites. You can add an array of fancy features, all apparently designed to make your site “sticky” and to entice people with your complex content. It’s all nice in theory. But this new research implies it is working against you.
Rather than adding more “stuff” to your web pages, this research suggests we should be simplifying them. Nice, peaceful, simple pages is all we need to help boost the engagement of our audiences and readers. The reason? When your readers are faced with tranquil sites, their brains are “in sync” and can process what you provide more easily. When your pages are more chaotic or complex, the neuroscience shows that there are more disconnections in the brain, increasing the difficulty of processing what you provide.
In other words, we have scientific proof of what successful website owners always tell us – keep it simple.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+