You never get a second chance at first impressions. Not only does this truth apply when developing personal relationships it also applies in the world of website design. As I have traversed the World Wide Web I have found sites that have been thoroughly impressive and others not so much. You would be surprised at the lack of understanding of the first impression principle.
In the age of information, it is important to make your information as accessible as possible. If a customer cannot find what they are looking for on your site they are likely to leave and find it on your competitor’s.
People go to the internet for two things:
1. Find information on a product or service they intend to purchase
2. Make a purchase
There is no doubt about the importance of website design as a tool for marketing goods and services. Upon visiting a website the mind of the customer is made whether they will stay or go as soon as your site downloads. Your ability to keep them perusing your page is based on a design that creates a compelling exchange.
Regardless of what anyone says all humans look on the outside rather than the inside. It is our human nature to make judgments based on looks rather than substance on first encounters. If the cover of your book(your website) is not appealing then you will find that you have been judged only by your appearance and not the quality of the character of your site.
If the design of your website placed emphasis on deep and rich content yet losses a customer because of first impressions then you have wasted your time. When your website is perceived as confusing and uninteresting then your product or service will be perceived in the same manner.
A great example of this comes from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence – Science and Practice, a woman-owned Indian Jewelry store in Arizona who recently purchased an allotment of turquoise jewelry.
The store owner had a hard time selling any pieces of this particular jewelry. She tried many sales tricks such as shifty their location to a central spot in the store, no luck. She had her sales clerks push the jewelry hard upon customers –with no success. One day the owner went on a buying trip but prior to leaving she left a note for her head saleswoman stating, “Everything in this display case, price x 1/2,” in hopes of getting rid of the offensive jewelry, even at a loss. The store owners handwriting must have been horrific because the saleswoman mistook “1/2” to be “2”, and the entire allotment was sold for twice the original price!
The jewelry only sold because a higher price led to a perceived higher value. You see, “Perception is the key to the mind”.
If you place your website in a side-by-side comparison to your competitor, both offering the same product, the same price, and the same value, the one who wins is the one with the best design hands down. Take time to think of what you are communicating to your customer and how it is best communicated. Through the creation of your compelling exchange, your customer will find greater value in your website by “Design”.