Information overload!

Last Friday I attended a presentation by my boss.  He’s not a neuro-scientist, but has an interest in the brain’s ability to process information. I won’t go through the whole presentation, but basically, the “logical” brain can only hold 5 to 9 bits of information at a time. That means above 9 bits of information, the brain can’t make a logical decision, it’s overloaded and cannot weigh all the elements offered to it to make a rational decision. Therefore, at that point, the brain relies on emotional input form other brain sectors (hearing, vision, smell,etc.) to make a decision.  If there is no emotional tie, the brain basically freezes up and can’t make a decision.  9 bits of info is not a lot – that means that to make most decisions, the brain relies on emotional input!

What this means for company sites

Keep your sites and applications simple so that the user can quickly understand what to do.  Don’t overload with information and options. Two nice examples are Pandora’s site and iPhone app and the new BBC site.

What this means for company clients

This also demonstrates the importance of building relationships with existing customers and potential customers. If the brain uses emotional responses to make most decisions wouldn’t you want your brand to evoke positive feelings so your customer will choose you without thinking? Think about it (pun intended).

What this means for me

I find this is why I have a hard time writing posts…too many ideas flow in at the same time that I get a brain freeze and I end-up not writing anything. I’m happy I found the cause of this brain freeze and can start working on this.

What do you think?