I was in a meeting with a startup today, and a concept i call "Site Animation" came up that i've been thinking about a few times over the past year. it's related to the Activation stage of the 5-step AARRR! Startup Metrics for Pirates model i've spoken about previously.
the basic idea is this...
startups spend a lot of time (or should) trying to figure out how to get users to take the FIRST step along the path to becoming a regular user. HOWEVER, frequently it's a challenge to communicate the basic concepts of the site, and get people to understand what you want them to do (or conversely, it's hard for startups to figure out what users are LIKELY to do, and how that connects with their primary features).
Q: what if you created a PLAY button that automated the action you want the user to take, and just act like the user hit PLAY after 3-5 seconds if they don't do anything?
I'm not sure i have the user experience figured out here just yet... it's sort of halfway between 1) playing a short screencast, and 2) animating the mouse cursor on behalf of the user to just click on something. i'm sure many folks might find this pretty annoying... but on the other hand, if 1/3 - 2/3 of your traffic is "bouncing" when it gets to your site, why not try something outlandish to see if you can engage with them before they leave?
a very simple example of this is when i visit YouTube, and they just start playing the video automatically for me. on the other hand, a NEGATIVE example of this is when i hear background music on a website kick in automatically... occasionally i like it, but most times i hate it and/or it's too loud. then again, maybe that's ok if i'm not target audience. from a purely goal-focused perspective, there's not much harm in asking girls out on a date who were going to shoot you down anyway, right? (ok sorry, that example might not "PLAY" well with some readers, but you get the picture.. ;)
interested to hear people's reactions to this... also what ideas you have for cool PLAY button scenarios.
a few questions:
Q2: would creating a PLAY button get in the way of learning about how to improve your default CTA? might it even DECREASE user activation in some scenarios?
Q3: aren't there better things for me to be doing at 3:40am, like sleeping?
(note: in any case, re: Q2 above, creating a PLAY button should NOT take the place of testing landing pages / modifying Calls To Action (CTAs) so that you can improve upon current user activation... still i wonder if you might convert an extra 2-10% of audience by taking the next step on their behalf.)
so let's hear it... What Would Your PLAY Button Do?