Brett Stimmerman

Think Fast - Making First Impressions on the Web

14 January 2006

The case for creating visually appealing and usable web sites (and applications) now has more ammunition. In an article entitled "Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye", nature.com reports a university study found that web users make their first impressions much more quickly than one might expect.

We all know that first impressions count, but this study shows that the brain can make flash judgements almost as fast as the eye can take in the information. ... [Researchers] found that impressions were made in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing.

Fifty milliseconds is incredibly fast: one twentieth of a second, or roughly half the time it takes to blink.

The article goes on to suggest that overall simplicity, a trend borne of the the Web Standards movement, is a crucial step towards making a lasting impression:

These days, enlightened web users want to see a "puritan" approach ... It's about getting information across in the quickest, simplest way possible.

This is hard evidence that we as web designers and developers must create an excellent and long-lasting first impression, or we are not doing our job.


Notes

  • 15 October 2011
    Still just as true today, and still incredibly hard to accomplish.