The Three Types of Visitors to Websites

Are you looking for ways to make your business website more effective? Want to know how to make your content appeal to every visitor on your site?

It’s not impossible if you keep in mind the following:

  • Skimmers want to find the information they need and get out as quickly as possible.

  • Swimmers will go a little deeper and browse more of your site.

  • Divers want to take it all in and spend time exploring.

Many websites are bursting at the seams with valuable information and content.  Serving up this content in a way that’s informative and engaging (and not overwhelming) can be a major organizational and design challenge. 

As you plan the organization and design of your site, think of your site visitors in three categories: 

Skimmers, Swimmers and Divers

Each group is willing to go progressively deeper and spend more time on your site.  They each have different needs and wants when it comes to their online experience.  So how do you design your site to address all of them?

Start by understanding what each audience is looking for and think through opportunities to meet that need.



Glide along the surface – they want to get in , get the info they need and get out as soon as possible.  They are headline readers and use title to guide their journey through your site.

How to meet their needs:

  • Think about the info most visitors are looking for.  This might include hours, contact info, admission price, menu – the low hanging fruit of info.

  • Make headlines clear and concise and use different headlines and establish a clear hierarchy to make page structure easy to understand at-a-glance.

  • Include search functionality. If the skimmers can’t locate what they need at-a-glance, an easy search function can keep them from leaving your page.



Splash around – willing to get a little deeper.  They are interested but have a limited amount of time and energy they will devote to your site.  They are most likely looking for something specific but may stop and peruse if something catches their attention.

How to meet their needs:

  • Take a cue from magazine – the covers of which have the most dramatic or thought-provoking quotes from stories in bold colors and fonts to grab attention.  Translate this approach to your site and emphasize our most compelling content to make it irresistible.

  • Not everything can be on the home page, but don’t bury content under too many layers of navigation.  And use page metrics to help adjust content that is most sought.

  • Feature related and relevant information “in context” – include similar content when visitors are most likely to be interested in it.  For example, an info page about services could include testimonials or links to companion products.



Going deep to get the full story – they will consume most, if not all, content and come back looking for new additions.

How to meet their needs:

  • Make sure your information is organized in an intuitive manner.  Divers may become frustrated if they cant make a mental map of your site as they browse.

  • Make the content progress clearly so they can easily find a stopping point and remember for when they resume.

  • Enhance their experience with multimedia – videos, imagery, audio – to keep them interested.


Building the Foundation

Keep in mind the needs of each of these visitors for a site that can cater to all who visit your site and convert visitors to customers.

  • Skimmers are looking for speed, ease, clarity and brevity.

  • Swimmers are looking for options, simplicity, efficiency and possibility.

  • Divers are looking for details, background, interaction and connection.