If at all possible, the old adage that you only get one chance at a first impression rings even more true than ever before. Every day, we are barraged with information and forced to filter through what is important and decide what deserves our attention. Humans have become experts at skimming and making spilt second decisions. This also means that our attention spans have become even shorter and businesses have to work harder than ever to capture and keep our attention. Nowhere is this more evident than when we look at online behavior and how people react to websites.
Humans are Worse than Goldfish
That’s right. If you have been finding comfort in the idea that humans are a highly-evolved species, consider that fact that goldish have an attention span that lasts a full 1-2 seconds longer than ours. We may be at the top of the food chain, but we shouldn’t let that leave us feeling all that superior. Not only do we have a short attention span, it is getting shorter by the day. In 2002, we were able to focus for a solid 12 seconds. By 2013, that number had dropped to 7 seconds.
For businesses, this means that they have a mere 7 seconds to make a great first impression and ensure that visitors don’t leave their website. If you have a poor design with slow load times that keeps visitors in suspense before they can even view your content, then you have lost the race before the starting gun even had the chance to fire. If the technical aspects of your website are up to par and operating correctly, but you are still struggling to meet your performance goals, then it is time to turn a critical eye to your website design and content.
Bounce Rates Matter
One surefire way to tell if visitors are reacting favorably to your site is to look at bounce rates and other performance metrics. A high bounce rate and other numbers that indicate that visitors only looking at the homepage without exploring the rest of the site, can be a clear signal that your design is turning away potential leads and sending them to your competition. Here are a few questions to ask when taking a hard look at the quality of your website design:
- Is my website aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes? Certain color contrasts and fonts can make it difficult to digest information. Web design should be less about flash and more about clean looks that makes information accessible.
- Is the most important information put first? While this might sound like simple common sense, all too often sites begin with a hook instead of providing visitors with exactly what they were looking for.
- Is my website easy to navigate? Today’s internet savvy consumers come with certain expectations about how and where to find certain items. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Meet expectations and make it easy for them to find their way around. Provide clear signposts and guidance.
- Is my website mobile friendly? In this market, having a Responsive Web Design is critical. More poeple are getting smart phones then ever before. If your website isn't legible on a mobile device, your alienating a large portion of potential clients.
Remember – 7 seconds is all the time you have to make a great first impression with your web design. If site performance is less than impressive, it may be time to invest your resources in a website redesign. It is always hard to part with money, but for most businesses, their website is the single most important point of contact with customers and it deserves attention!