It’s no secret that first impressions are an influential factor in a number of different contexts. It only takes 1/10th of a second to form an impression of a perfect stranger. Websites are no different. They’re often the first interaction a user will have with an organisation or brand, the first opportunity for customers, employees and the world to understand who you are and make a judgement about your credibility.

The first few moments users interact with your site goes a long way to forming an opinion that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll engage with it or leave.

Research published by Google in 2012 stated that it takes 50ms (0.05 seconds) for users to form an impression, with similar studies revealing that, of these impressions, 94% were related to the website’s design. These were attributed to elements such as structure, colour, logo, spacing, fonts, imagery, volume of text, and more.

Interfaces with low complexity are considered to be more appealing and help to influence a sense of trust. In comparison, sites deemed to be poorly designed had the opposite effect and weren’t explored any further than the homepage.

Having a strong brand logo also showed to contribute toward this same sense of trust. A good logo is memorable and evokes integrity. Having a dated or ineffective logo within the context of a well designed website is an off-balance juxtaposition. Instances like this serve to highlight the importance of ensuring that everything about your brand is considered and continually evolves, so not to stagnate.

More show. Less tell.

Good content is key in conveying an effective representation of your brand. The reality is that users scan your content rather than digest it. Humans are visual creatures with 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual. As a result, the speed at which imagery is processed by the brain in comparison to a body of text is a lot quicker. This serves to highlight why content needs to be clear, focused and serve a distinct purpose in providing value to your users.

Investing in custom photography is a good example of this. While stock photography is seen as the convenient and cheaper option, it often feels impersonal to a business and means you blend in with the generic crowd that are using the same imagery. This ultimately affects your chances of appearing unique against competitors. Custom photography is an investment worth making as it allows you to authentically represent your business and gives you greater control over how you want to be perceived rather than trying to fit your visual story or messaging around stock imagery.

While all this might sound like good design and content are all you need to win over prospective clients, it’s equally important that usability and user experience is given the same level of consideration. While design is said to be the defining factor in generating a positive first impression, this ultimately counts for nothing if the user then fails or struggles to navigate your website.

Why not take a few minutes (or 0.05 seconds) to review your website and consider if it’s design is doing what you need it to. Try envisage looking at it again for the first time and ask yourself whether it gives you the sort of impression you want it to have upon prospective users. If not, it may be a good time to get in touch with us.