Bad Design: Crash & Burn in 50 milliseconds
Good design is critical.
We all know that, but do you know how fast that "good" vs. "bad" judgment gets made? About 50 milliseconds -- about one-twentieth of a second.
The Canadian team showed volunteers glimpses of websites, lasting for only 50 milliseconds. The volunteers then had to rate the websites in terms of their aesthetic appeal.
Yeah, but does that snap decision make a difference over the longer term? You betcha:
The researchers also believe that these quickly-formed first impressions last because of what is known to psychologists as the "halo effect". If people believe a website looks good, then this positive quality will spread to other areas, such as the website's content.
The human brain is hard-wired to make snap decisions on instantaneous visual data -- after all, we evolved to avoid lions, tigers, and bears in the wild. Today, we might just be using it to assess the professionalism of a campaign or the authenticity of a candidate. But it's just as fast.
The same reason you dress up to impress a prospective spouse or a prospective boss is the same reason you should have a clean, well-designed website. If you can't get past the first impression, the rest doesn't matter very much.
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