First Impressions: The Importance of Great Design

In Information by Eric RoarkLeave a Comment

People are quick to judge. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and websites are no different. It takes about 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website and brand.This opinion determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.

This number comes from specific studies. In the first study, participants twice rated the visual appeal of web home-pages presented for 500 ms each. In a follow-up study they reduced the exposure time to 50 ms. Throughout, visual appeal ratings were highly correlated from one phase to the next as were the correlations between the 50 ms and 500 ms conditions. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms, suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first impression This first impression depends on many factors: structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, usability, and more.

British researchers analyzed how different design and information content factors influence trust of online health sites.The study showed that the look and feel of the website is the main driver of first impressions. Of all the feedback the test participants gave, 94% was about design (complex, busy layout, lack of navigation aids, noting web design, use of color, pop ups, slow load times, small print, too much text, corporate look and feel, poor search facilities). Only 6% of the feedback was about the actual content. Visual appeal and website navigation appeared to be the biggest influence on people’s first impressions of the site.At the same time, poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website. When participants did not like some aspect of the design, the website was often not explored further than the homepage .Similar results were found in a research study  for Consumer WebWatch, conducted by Stanford University credibility experts. They found that what people *say* about how they evaluate trust of a website and how they *really* do it are different.The data showed that the average consumer paid far more attention to the superficial aspects of a site, such as visual cues, than to its content. For example, nearly half of all consumers (or 46.1%) in the study assessed the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes.

Conclusion: Poor design leads to mistrust from your clients. It is important to implement good design to earn the client’s trust, allowing you to create a lasting relationship.

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