Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

Article: Hopkin, M. (2006). “Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye.” Nature Publishing Group. Retrieved 13 January, 2006.


Researchers in Canada discovered that most of the web users are able to make decisions about the websites within the first twenty seconds of their visit, and the impression they receive during this twenty seconds has a lasting effect on their opinions. This effect is known to psychologists as the ‘halo effect’ and if the users find the site to be attractive, they are more likely to ignore its minor flaws and speak favorably of it and its content. According to the article, this is due to ‘cognitive bias’ as people like to be right about their opinions so they continue to re-visit the site to prove that they had made the right initial decision. In order to come up with a website that gives a good long lasting impression, the researcher suggests using not more than one image and one that is eye-catching, and the information to be accessible to the visitors in the quickest way possible. This is especially important as the article mentions 60% of traffic is directed from search engines such as Google, where they are presented with a list of options with other competitors. The article also mentions that the sites nowadays are designed based on how the westerners look for information. Many sites locate a logo on the top left corner of the page and a search field on the top right. The author concludes the article to say that “the other golden rule is to make sure that your web pages load quickly.” Otherwise why would anyone want to stick around!?

Conceptual Design: To develop a website that gives a good first impression to the visitors so that they will continue to re-visit the site.

Interaction Design: The site should load quickly which means that the developers should avoid putting music (or flash movies) and other heavy components, also avoid placing too many images. Pertinent information is readily available and accessible with only one click.

Interface Design: Effective interfaces should be simple so that the users can quickly see what options are available to them and grasp how to achieve their goals, and do their work. Images should be limited to one but one that’s eye-catching. Information should be presented in a way that is easy for the eyes to follow and quickly accessible. I think text should be easy to read, legible and reasonable in size. Also the web developers need to think about the overall color scheme of the site and what effect colors can have on people as colors relate to the mind and emotions. As mentioned in the article, many sites tend to have the company logo on the top left, with search field on the top right. Perhaps it will help to follow this layout so that many visitors can familiarize themselves with the site quickly.

  1 comment for “Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

  1. April 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    There’s research about students evaluating teachers—most students know within a minute of instruction if the teacher is any good! That opinion tends to stay constant throughout the course of student-teacher interaction.
    Interaction Design: I hate all of those site that have an “intro”…what a waste of my time!
    Interface Design: Interestingly enough, I have many clients that feel too timid to do anything that deviates too far from the “norm.” — “Can you show me another site/product/magazine.etc. that does this?” It’s hard to do innovative design under those circumstances…

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