When you only have a few items to look at, you can pay alot of attention. I have lots of items begging for my attention. Emails, RSS feed articles, critical alerts from systems, feature requests, ideas, bug reports, summary emails and more all vie for our daily attention.
When there are only a few items, it is easy to give them high priority attention. However, as the volume increases, it gets harder and harder to manage. Like the proverbial Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell didn’t coin the term, but it’s a good book), there comes a moment when you just say, “Fuck It” and you stop looking at it all together.
That moment is the start of a big change. You basically hit a cliff and stop looking at things all together. At this point, the attention dwindles to near zero and anything important in that list is totally lost.
As a designer, you need to be careful of giving the customer too many messages. The excuse of “we should tell them this information” should be balanced with the potential of information overload. Once someone hits the “fuck it!” moment, it’s incredibly hard to get people to go back. You have to earn back trust, which is really hard.
Designers need to hold the line and limit the information presented to the user. We will suffer the consequences if the user says Fuck It.