As every business knows, your website is all important. Whether you are running a tiny business from home or are the CEO of a huge UK company, your concerns will be the same. How can you get visitors to click on your website and once you’ve done that, get them to stay there and not click off?
Now a recent study confirms the news every website owner dreads – it takes users less than 50 milliseconds to form an opinion on whether a site is good or bad, according to the way it looks.
The study, led by Professor Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ottawa showed users the websites for 50 milliseconds each, and asked them to rate them in terms of aesthetic appeal. The results surprised even them: ‘My colleagues believed it would be impossible to really see anything in less than 500 milliseconds,’ said Professor Lindgaard – but users were able to rate sites within a fraction of that time.’
‘The length of time people take to judge a website has huge implications,’ says Nick Taylor, managing director of Liverpool-based web design and marketing company e-blueprint. ‘Their first impressions give way to a ‘halo effect’, so if they think the site looks good, they transfer that assessment to its functionality. It means we literally have milliseconds to persuade customers that sites are trustworthy, efficient, and can do what they want them to do, which is why a bespoke website design always works best.’
Good design is composed of three vital ingredients; imagery, colour and typography. ‘Bespoke imagery shows customers you believe in your business,’ says Nick. ‘It’s also a big part of your personality, and good product photography – ideally between three and five shots from different angles – is essential. Colour also has a very emotional effect. We automatically associate certain things with certain colours, like red and black in horror movies, pastel baby products, and technology signalled by electric blues and greens or black and grey.’
Finally, typography gives us the biggest visual clue to what we need to do, and when. Clear, easy-to-read fonts, good spacing and consistent use of titles and ‘call to action’ text helps users to know what to do, and when. ‘Good design is vital, but you need to be clear about what you want before you start,’ says Nick. ‘It’s important to work through a complete ‘task analysis’ programme – working out what you want customers to do, and making sure that you’re creating all of the right steps to lead them that way.’
According to Nick the five golden design rules are:
1.) Know what you need to achieve… Use a ‘task analysis’ system to work out the responses you want from a customer or client, and how to translate them into your site’s design
2.) Clean, consistent design focuses your customer’s attention on specific parts of the page, helping to ease them through the buying process…
3. ) At least 3-5 shots of your product – from different angles – help customers make potentially tricky online purchasing decisions
4.) Colour has a massive emotional effect. If people can only see the colours you use from a distance, they’ll already be making subconscious decisions about you and what you do…
5.) Good, clear typography tells your customers EXACTLY what you want them to do
Is this true? How long do you believe it takes you to judge a website? And what do you believe makes good design?
Let us know below…