Two-tenths of a second...
That’s the average time it takes for a visitor to make up his or her mind on a website. Add another 2.6 seconds for the viewer’s eyes to focus on page elements that confirm this first impression, and that means you have less than three seconds to snag the viewer’s attention and keep them on your site. Three seconds is the same amount of time the images on the right give you to view each one! Given that incredibly tight timeframe, it’s clear that the first impression is the most important.
Why does design matter?
Good website design not only catches the viewer’s attention, it maintains it, engaging the user and encouraging interaction among the various page elements. This is how repeat visits are made, loyalty is gained, and sales are earned. Poor design, on the other hand, does the opposite. Lousy design elements and a poor layout drive the viewer away, costing you page views, subsequent visits, and money.
First, you need to have a clear, strong brand message. What are you trying to convey to your viewers? What about you is special, what makes you stand out from your competitors, what makes you worthwhile to potential customers? Your site must highlight these factors both visually and via your content.
Second, ease of navigation. Nothing frustrates a web user more than a poorly laid out page. Make your site easy to use, responsive, with an intuitive layout and a consistent, simple visual hierarchy. In other words, get the pertinent information to your viewers in those three seconds mentioned above!
Finally, your site content must be written with your target audience in mind. It must be easy to understand and provide the necessary information required for them to make whatever purchasing decision you are seeking. Social media platforms must be smoothly integrated into your site, as most users acquire and share websites in this manner. Your site must also be compliant with all internet browsers, allowing for visual appeal and ease of use across all devices and operating systems.