Get ‘Em Early
In journalism, we have to know how to get people’s attention with BOLD, GRIPPING HEADLINES! If the readers’ aren’t grabbed very quickly by that opener, then odds are that they won’t read the story below it. Web designers have a similarly slim sliver of time to make an impression upon visitors to their site. According to a new study conducted by the interestingly named Human-Oriented Technology Lab at Ottawa’s Carleton University, a Web site has about 50 milliseconds (or about one-20th of a single second) to elicit a favorable reaction from viewers.
The report, which was published in the U.K.-based journal Behaviour & Information Technology, shows that people register an initial intuitive impression prior to even processing the page they’re looking at. The study also showed that people tend to bail on a Web site they find visually disagreeable very early on, without even clicking through to explore other pages.
So what makes for an aesthetically interesting site, anyway? Is it something loaded with features and functions right there on the landing page? Maybe not: After all, the Google home page is pretty no-frills and has a great deal of empty space. Is it particular shape and color arrangements? Perhaps, but the history of art in various civilizations suggests that there may be no designs that universally appeal to the human eye.
I’ve got a thread going in the CRM & E-Commerce discussion board right now for anyone who wants to offer their thoughts on what elements make for a viewer-friendly Web site. Share your comments or read others’ opinions at www.certmag.com/forums.