According to Wikipedia, the lag effect means that: “learning is greater when studying is spread out over time”
Have you ever tried to cook in someone elses kitchen? It’s quite an exhausting experience because nothing feels ‘intuitive’. You have to search for all the stuff that you normally just pull out of the closet. Do it just once and you’ll forget most of the things that you’ve learned that afternoon. But do it every week and before you know it, you’ll use the kitchen as if it were your own.
Most people will say that this is obvious: repetition will do that for you. But there’s one aspect about repetition that people tend to forget: you also need a break.
Most people use the internet as one big kitchen with lots of closets. They do not distinguish between one website and the other so they’ll try to do the same things on your website that they have learned elsewhere. So give the user a break:
- Don’t try to be inventive all the time, try boring and familiar for tasks that the user has already learned elsewhere.
- And if you are really designing something unique (website or tool, wizard, app, really anything), then give the user quick results and a reason to come back. It will make it a lot easier for them to learn.