First impressions are important. You need to make a good first impression when you walk into an interview; a restaurant must make a great first impression on its patrons when they first walk in; a movie must quickly impress watchers to keep them interested; a book must interest right from chapter 1 to hook the reader and a product must make a great first impression on its would-be buyers and so on and so forth.
Making a great first impression is also important in website design. When visitors come across your site, its design must be immediately impressive, engaging, relatable and interesting. And here’s the rub, you just have 2.6 seconds to make this impression. No, this is not a figure that I have picked out of thin air, but something that the guys at Missouri University of Science and Technology found, as a part of their study.
I know this figure is shocking, but that’s the way it is: You have very little time to make an impactful first impression on visitors to your site. But if your website can create an impact in the little time it has at its disposal, you can be sure that this favorable impression will go a long way in improving website conversions.
So, in the interest of conversions, it’s important that you keep these website design tips in mind:
1. Showcase Your USP
How can you help the user achieve a particular objective? What is your business’s value proposition? Why are you better than the other choices available on the market? How are you different? These are the questions your website must answer as soon as visitors open it.
The Marmoset website is a perfect example of showcasing the companies USP and purpose right on the Home Page. By highlighting its value proposition, it’s telling visitors, they have come to the right site. This creates a great first impression.
2. Relevant and High Resolution Visuals
What you see above is a visual from Burger King’s Home Page. It’s the kind of visual that grabs instant attention. You look at it and you want to know more about it—that’s the power of a great visual and its ability to generate interest. You will find most fast food chains and restaurants using images of delicious looking food on their websites. That is the shortest route to grab the attention of visitors. The use of drool-worthy photographs leaves a great first impression and gives visitors something they don’t forget in a hurry!
3. Emotional Call to Action
You need to bring emotions into play while designing your website; a case in point being the Greenpeace website. The imagery and text used on the site are amazing to say the least. The image of a very scared looking polar bear has immediate impact on our psyche and lends credence to Greenpeace’s Arctic activism. It’s not just a great first impression—it’s an enduring first impression. The image stays with you and by association the name of the website also stays with you. That’s what impressions are all about.
4. Neat and Clean Design
Making a great first impression doesn’t mean going overboard with your designs and cluttering the web pages. There is a huge difference between great visuals and visual clutter. The website of Buffalo, a web design and development firm, is a text book example of how clean designs can be made to work and stand out from the crowd. The impression you get when you come across such sites, is that the website means business. Such designs also look very professional and go on to improve site credibility.
5. Beautiful Typography
I love what the guys at A List Apart do with their typography. It’s obviously very readable, but it also looks good. It actually looks quite elegant and at first glance also looks very credible. Yes, the typography actually makes the content look credible, even before you read it. As can be seen, it’s a great typographic selection at work here. They have selected the perfect typography that they know will make a great first impression on the visitor. As the focus of the site is on the textual content, and very little imagery, choosing the right typography was an absolute must. But, make no mistake: the content on this site is useful, actionable and provides thought leadership. So, it’s a combination of factors that is at play here – great content that is showcased with some typographic brilliance.
Considering these tips is important, but so is their proper implementation. For example, your design must look neat and clean, but there is a difference between simplistic design and a design that avoids clutter. The latter conforms to the minimalist design approach, and websites that have design minimalism as their forte have an elegant visual appeal about them. Also, the tips you utilize must be in sync with the purpose of your site. Your designing decisions must walk in step with the overall website objectives and the message it has to deliver.
This article is a Guest post by Abhishek Agarwal.