“You don`t get a second chance to make a first impression”.
Most of us are familiar with that old advice. Recent research is revealing how quickly that first impression of your website design is actually formed.
A Canadian study on website user reactions found that people will develop a sub-conscious opinion to the aesthetic appearance of your website within 1/20th of a second. Furthermore, this impression becomes very hard to alter even despite further user experience with the site. As humans we like to “be right” in our judgments and look for evidence to support our first conclusions.
The same researchers concluded that aesthetics can have an important impact on how users perceive the actual content of a website due to what they termed the “halo” effect. The perceived positive qualities of one aspect (presentation) have a positive influence on how users perceive other aspects (page content).
Some people will argue that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” when it comes to deciding what makes an effective design but in actual fact there is a good deal of empirical knowledge about things such as color psychology, color balance, use of white space, contrast, typography and page organization.
For clients seeking a contemporary feel to their website, there is also an emerging consensus about what constitutes “web 2.0” design style. Gradients, 3D image objects, bold logos and fewer columns are just a few of the in vogue design trends.
Choice of imagery, animation and text wording will also depend significantly on the expectations of the target market you are focusing upon.
It is important to make sure that the web design consultant you choose has a proper understanding of website design aesthetics.