Visitors to your Website will judge your web design and make a first impression in ‘the blink of an eye’ according to researchers at Carleton University. Staffordshire web designers have long stated on this forum that the general rule of thumb is the eight seconds to draw in your visitor, but this research appears to make this web design rule a piece of history.
According to the research, website visitors will form their first impression in as little as 50 milliseconds (only one twentieth of a second) making this an instant judgement, made as quickly as the eye can take in the information, a gut instinct as much as anything else.
The research consisted of volunteers being shown 50 millisecond glimpses of static web page content. The volunteers then had to rate the websites in terms of aesthetic appeal.
Talking to magazine website, Web Site Optimization, one of the studies researchers was asked if the speed of response was cognitive or was it a physiological and emotional response.
Dr Lindgarrds responded that is was unlikely to be cognitive, saying “[It] seems to depend on your age. When a group of high school kids saw the slides for 50 millisecond they were able to discern much more detail than were older people. People taking part in our experiments were not able to see details, so they had no clue about the informational content. Hence, for adults, this response is unlikely to involve cognition.”
New Rules for Staffordshire Web Designers
So do web designers in Staffordshire and across the UK need to ditch the 8 second rule and design to the 50 millisecond rule. That is perhaps a little premature.
Philip Brassington, a web design and web marketing expert from Staffordshire said that the research came as much as a surprise to him and his colleagues as it had to the researchers
We have long promoted the eight second rule for web design, asking clients to judge their web design based on an eight second impression” he said
Businesses that keep design in house as part of another department may need to think again in light of the new research according to the Staffordshire Web Designer,
“With an initial judgement made as soon as the information is received by the eye it is even more important that your web design is spot on” he said
However Mr Brassington urges caution and calm for businesses and web site owners before rushing out and spending money on changing the look and feel of their websites.
“The images used were very much two extremes and the researchers did use only very high quality website and also very low quality website images for their research.” he told us.
Philip Brassington is a director at Rake Mark Web Design Staffordshire and can be contacted on 01785 256 222. He has worked as a web designer and developer since graduating Staffordshire University. He lives in Stafford with his wife, three kids and a rabbit named flopsy.