Make Your Website More Successful!
Websites serve as projections of who we are and what we have to offer. The substance that we provide.... the core value of our sites' content ultimately determines its' success.
But what if most people visiting our site never get far enough to recognize the value?
Wrapping our content in a pretty package may sound superficial.....but the perception of it's value is quite often determined by that very package.
Researchers led by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada determined that we form first impressions of web pages in as little as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). They concluded, "in the blink of an eye, web surfers make nearly instantaneous judgments of a web site's "visual appeal." Through the "halo effect" first impressions can color subsequent judgments of perceived credibility, usability, and ultimately influence our purchasing decisions. Creating a fast-loading, visually appealing site can help websites succeed".
What does this mean?..... The attitude of visitors toward our website is determined within seconds. The perceived value and credibility of our content is assessed, to a great extent, before they've read one word..
So what do we do about this?..... When designing our websites we need to focus on the aesthetic components of our design in support of four factors.
****Credibility..... Content and Function.....Site Classification.....Targeted Audience****
Our websites, in many cases, are the only contact we have with our potential market. Aesthetic effects play an important role in establishing positive perception about ourselves and our organizations. The colors, fonts, styles and imagery we use all need to work together to visually represent who we are and to elicit confidence in the content we are sharing.
Content and Function
Our use of images, highlights, illustrations, and graphics(stationary or animated) must support the content and functional aspects of our sites. We need to avoid visual noise which distracts and misdirects our viewers' focus from the core value of our site which is the content. We want to use visual icons and highlights to create user-friendly navigation. Any interactive elements must flow smoothly and, once again, be used to support our content and site function.
We need to determine what we intend to provide with our website. A site that is primarily providing entertainment needs to include more experiential and interactive effects. On the other hand, a site providing information should focus less on effects and more on efficiency.
We need to adapt our style and effects to best reach our target audience. For example a site directed to a young audience needs to pay more attention to contemporary trends and interactive effects; whereas, a minimalistic approach would normally be more successful with an adult demographic.
We must remember... first impressions are lasting impressions; and we have potentially less than a second to convince our targeted audience to give our site an unbiased viewing.