Customer Interest or Disinterest at First Blink
The Missouri University of Science and Technology (February 2012) conducted eye studies with infrared cameras to determine where and how long people look at website. The study shows that in the blink of an eye the first impression of a website is made. In just a few seconds, they scan content to determine if they like a website or not before moving on to the next one. What does an attention span the length of a few seconds mean? Websites need two things: great design and great content to retain the attention of website visitors. The purpose of this blog is primarily to share best practices for designing a website.
Image by Chapendra
On average the participants spent 20 seconds looking at a website. The sections of most interest from the viewers were:
- Logo (6.48 seconds)
- Main Navigation Menu (6.44 seconds)
- Search Box (6 seconds)
- Social Networks (5.95 seconds)
- Main Image (5.94 seconds)
- Bottom of Website (5.59 seconds)
A well designed website displays the following attributes:
- Content Rich Information
- Customer Centric Orientation
- Clear Structure of Website
- Clutter-Free Design
- Consistent Layout and Branding
As our society becomes more and more paperless, customers turn to the internet for information that will help them along in the buying process. Yesteryear, companies would reserve educational information until the customer was interacting with a member of the sales team. Websites that are rich in content help customers make informed choices. When in doubt, remember the acronym M.A.K.E.:
- Make educational information available on the website
- Appeal to Prospects Curiousities, Wants, and Needs
- Know and Use different formats to share information
- Experiment with different methods to determine popular formats
Design your website with your customers in mind. With your knowledge of your audience, create a website that addresses their problems head on. Use terms potential customers use, in place of unfamiliar industry terminology. A customer centric website will have a greater appeal than one that is company centric.
Website navigation is hindered or enhanced by the structure of the website. A clear structure allows website visitors to find the information they need quickly and easily. If customers struggle to locate relevant information, they could easily find another website with greater ease of use. When website pages are organized in an intuitive clear way, potential customers have a better experience using the website.
Resist the urge to put too much information in a single space. If the website visitor has too much informational offers coming at them, it will not be pleasing to the eye and it will create confusion as to where they should go. A well designed content marketing plan creates content to guide website visitors into and through the sales funnel.
Website pages that are consistent in layout and branding are better. The page format should compliment one another. With the help of a content management system, it is easy to create new pages that have the design of the website. A consistent website retains the interest of the potential customer longer than a website that has ever-changing layout.
Every now and then, I stumble across a website that looks like it hasn't seen an update in over 10 years. Fortunately, they are in the minority! Most business owners realize the importance of making a positive impression through their websites. Rightfully so, the website is the digital storefront. The best websites are functional, easy to navigate, and contain useful relevant information.
Your website design does not need to replicate the creative greatness of Michaelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapter, but it needs to be pleasing to the eye. Graphic designers and website designers have an eye for creating beautiful images. The creativity they impart to projects makes graphic design all the more interesting for it. I'd like to share an infographic with you that shows the changes in website design over the years.