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Recently, I took my family to the Rhythm Discovery Center here in Indianapolis. It was a nice day to take a trip downtown, not many were out, and we were able to comfortably navigate the mall parking, and even do some shopping with a cooperative 18 month old.

Something I realized about the Rhythm Discovery Center is that it is very well designed. This place is NOISY. Kids are running around hitting things as hard as they can. They don’t read the signs, or care that these things are musical instruments. At first you shrug it off, but by the time you get to the end of the displays, you are getting close to going crazy.

Ingeniously, the center’s designers put a giant play area full of clickers, clackers, rasps, triangles, bongos and other noisy stuff right at the end, including a sound-proof room with a full drum kit in it. Visitors can stay as long as they want and make as much noise as they can. As a visitor, though, one heads for the door after about five or 10 minutes, right through the gift shop. The end result is one that keeps visitors moving through quickly, and coming back on another day to let their kids do it all again. The visit is a great learning experience, and it is a big — albeit quick — hit with children.

The point of this story is that I realized shortly after that I believe strongly in a correlation of this to a site’s online content. There are very few sites that are truly sticky. Very few that a user truly wants to sit on and experience. There is a lot of noise, and it has become increasingly important to know your audience, and to create an experience that has the appropriate level of immersion for the type of content you are providing.

In short, it is important to know when you are being too loud. If you let someone leave, they’ll likely come back and do it again.

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