Does your site pass the 50 millisecond test?
According to a recent study published in Behavior and Information, visitors to websites take only 50 milliseconds to make a qualitative assessment.
Lead researcher of the paper, Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University, Ottawa, explains that the brain makes decisions in just a twentieth of a second of viewing a webpage. She also suggests that first impressions have a lasting impact. Volunteers were allowed glimpses of websites, lasting for only 50 milliseconds. They then had to rate the websites for aesthetic appeal. The team found that the quickly formed conclusions tallied very closely with opinions made after much longer periods of examination.
The researchers believe that these quickly-formed first impressions last because of what is known to psychologists as the 'halo effect'. If people find a website good to look at, then these positive feelings extend to areas such as content. And because people like to be right, they continue to use websites that made good first impressions, confirming their own good judgment.
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