The science of striking web design
We always say to our clients that first impressions count and that striking web design is an essential tool for customer engagement, but did you know that it takes less than 2-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve perused your company’s website. Notably, it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.
These figures reinforce our long held belief and have been recorded in a recent study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Using eye-tracking software and an infrared camera, the researchers monitored subjects eye movements as they scanned web pages. The researchers then analysed the eye-tracking data to determine how long it took for the subjects to focus on specific sections of a web page – such as the menu, logo, images and social media icons – before they moved on to another section.
In light of such compelling data, making a good first impression with a striking web design should be one of your top priorities. In fact, the Missouri S&T study might help you and your web designer determine which elements of your website are most important to those viewing the pages.
Data in support of striking web design
During the study subjects were asked to rate sites on the basis of visual appeal and design factors during an average of 20 seconds spent on each of 25 websites. The sections sparking the most interest included:
Logos: Visitors spent approximately 6.48 seconds focused on this most identifiable portion of a site.
Navigation menus: Users spend almost as long (6.44 seconds) studying the menu on a webpage.
Search box: This area kept visitors attention for more than 6 seconds.
Links to social utilities: The fact that subjects focused on social-media icons for 5.95 seconds reveals just how important it is for your business to offer opportunities for customers to engage with your brand and other customers.
Primary image: Visitors viewed the main photo or graphic on a page for 5.94 seconds.
Written content: This element took up 5.59 seconds of subjects time.
Bottom of the page: That’s where users ended up, engaged for about 5.25 seconds in that location.
Why striking web design is essential
These headline figures would seem to suggest that the items which commonly inform a users experience of a website i.e. a logo and navigation area, are those areas that are viewed the longest. That said, the 7-items listed above can all be seen to be the important areas of a website with strong design possibilities. When viewed alongside the impression forming data as detailed in the opening paragraph of this article, we can see how strong eye-catching design supported by easily interpreted website navigation are crucial to the success of any website.
So, if it’s been a while since you last looked at your own website, take the time now to identify the top 3 things you want visitors to do as a result of visiting your site.
Next schedule a meeting with your web design team to review the current site along side this list – you may be surprised by what you see.