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Human behaviour is a strange thing and nothing exposes its strangeness more than road-rage. There are people who, in their everyday lives, are calm, kind and generous with a warm heart. But get them behind the wheel of a car and the terrible Mr or Ms Hyde comes to the fore in the place of meek and mild Dr Jekyll.

It is strange to witness such behaviour and it is easy to demonise those who lose control to a greater extent than the average person. Whilst not condoning such extreme behaviour, it is easy to explain why people change so much.

First of all, driving a car is a dangerous business and the actions of others can put one's life at risk. Such pressures rarely surface in day-to-day life so it is natural the reactions tend to be more aggressive than normal.

There is also the element of being cocooned from the world in your car. A display of extreme anger can be met with surprise and derision in normal social situations but we do not often have to face such feedback from other road users. This lowers (in some cases removes) our inhibitions which also causes our reactions to be more extreme.

Make your website a rage-free zone

Whilst I would never claim that the personality of people who surf the Internet have reactions as extreme as road rage, it is illustrative of another aspect of human behaviour. Your customers who visit your website do not display normal patterns of human behaviour when browsing your site. Patient, calm and forgiving people suddenly become impetuous, anxious and sanctimonious with what they find on your website.

Quite why people act this way with websites is partially a mystery. There is no element of peril such as exists when driving. But perhaps the cocooning effect is more extreme when you are in your own virtual world.

It is tempting to dismiss such behaviour as unreasonable but we must accept that it is extremely common.

We do not have it in our power to handle road rage but we do have it in our power to make surfing our own website such a straightforward and rewarding experience that we will give no reason for the "Internet Ragers" to leave our websites out of shear impatience or disdain in the colour of the background.

 There are three elements that make visiting a website an enjoyable experience:

  1. Ensure very fast downloading times for each page (do not bloat the website unnecessarily)
  2. Make it very very clear how you can be contacted
  3. Make everything else on your website very easy to find and certainly no more than 3 clicks away
  4. Ensure the design is not only stylish, but also clear and uncluttered to make for easy reading.

Follow these simple rules and I am sure you will have few or no Internet rage incidents on your own website.

Tue 8 March 2011 13:46:22

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