Garry Taylor, UK Art Director at Say Media, believes you should never judge a book entirely by its cover, but argues that online, first impressions really count.
Substance should always win out over style, right? However, in the digital world - where you have literally (milli) seconds to grab someone’s attention - first impressions still count. People make snap judgments all the time in daily life, forming lasting first impressions of people, places and products in an extraordinarily short period of time. You may make a final choice on a new perfume by testing it out with a little spray here or there, but how did you decide which perfumes to try on before you even smelt them?
When a reader lands on your website, it’s often their first interaction with your brand. That first impression your site’s design creates is crucial in grabbing users’ attention. Google research has confirmed that site visitors get an initial ‘gut feel’ for your site within 50 milliseconds of landing on it. By comparison, the average blink of an eye takes 100 to 400 milliseconds.
You can’t expect people to stick around if that first impression is dull or confusing. The quality of the content might be great, but what good is it if users get put off before ever reading a word?
First impressions not only count. They last.