In reading an article in one of my fav mags, Dynamic Graphics about a study done this study done by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University, Ontario, Canada, and it reminded me of that skit on SNL, “Subliminal Man”, that Kevin Nealon used to do. The study shows that people will decide in 50 milliseconds whether or not to stay your website — that’s LESS than a blink of an eye. Sad, isn’t it? We labor and sweat all the details, only to have a such a short timeframe available and POOF, our visitor is gone…or are they? How can we convince a visitor that what we have will help them, that within the confines of our website, they will find an answer to their problem? The question is probably better answered by restating the question: What would a visitor need to see or read immediately to consider staying?
In a nutshell, your site must be compelling, guest-centered, fresh, relevant, and a host of other adjectives. The point is to study before you think you need to have flashing animations and 4 pages all about you. Customers want to see themselves in your site. If you are working with a designer, make sure they understand the things that make a marketing piece and that they are able to bring that together in a way that creates ease of use and evocative messaging and imagery. Also, is it clear from this study and others that people exit sites very quickly if they look like are past an expiration date. Keep things updated, current, and if something changes, revise right away.
And remember, no amount of cool imagery can make up from bad content.