We all know the expression, “You had me the first time we met”! The same is true for your website design.
The first impression a website’s design creates is crucial in capturing users’ interest. In less than 50 milliseconds, users build an initial “gut feeling” that helps them decide whether they’ll stay or leave. – Google Research
Google’s research states that this first impression depends on many factors: structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and more. However, Google found that there are two keys to quick acceptance.
- Visual complexity — how complex the visual website design looks
- Typicality — how representative your website design looks for a certain category of websites
Their research further results show that these two factors are interrelated: if the visual complexity of a website is high, users perceive it as less beautiful, even if the design is familiar. And if the design is unfamiliar — i.e., the site has low typicality — users judge it as uglier, even if it’s simple.
In other words, users strongly prefer website designs that look both simple (low complexity) and familiar (high typicality). That means if you’re designing a website, you’ll want to consider both factors. When site users visit your site and encounter and unexpected design or format, that valuable first impression is damaged. Go for simple and familiar if you want to appeal to your users’ sense of beauty and their expectations.
Our top five tips for great website design
- Include a site search and make it easily found. I am shocked when I run across a site that doesn’t include a site search.
- Make the design easily scannable. Go back to our first comment, you have milliseconds to make a good impression.
- Don’t fool the user. We often see text that is underlined and looks like links, but are not clickable. (I know, I do this sometimes and I promise to stop)
- Always include tools for easy feedback. A simple contact page that is easily found. (no-brainer)
- Enable collaboration. Include a comment section. Most sites include the ability to comment on content, but is you don’t, I am gone immediately. It is a matter of principle. If you won’t accept collaboration then I feel you really don’t care about me.