Great web design is a concept that has become essential over the last decade. We all want a website to meet the most popular design standards. But, how much of a website’s success can really be attributed to visual appeal?
It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. First impressions of a website are 94% design-related.
According to research (Lindgaard et al., 2006), visitors can reliably decide which homepages they like or dislike within 50 milliseconds. Moreover, visitors’ first impressions hold over time, even if they have more time to evaluate it later on.
Through pictures and other visual elements, you can convey feelings such as delight, sadness, or even pity. Visual appeal can awaken memories and emotions like trust, comfort, hope, or self-confidence.
What is a visual appeal?
Visual appeal is what meets the eye. It’s the colors, shapes, pictures, fonts, white space, and overall visual balance of a design. Whether a website appeals to us affects how we perceive it, how we use it, and how we remember it
A visually appealing website starts with solid design and a conscious color scheme. The colors that you use to resonate with different feelings, and can trigger different responses. When defining your brand, carry that over onto your website to create a holistic experience for you and your company.
Importance of visual appeal to website design
1. Visual appeal is the key to attracting attention
The way a bride stands out on her wedding day is the way your website will be distinctive if you incorporate the right visuals when designing. This is key to getting visitors engaged with your website. People like to look at pretty things and if they have the choice, they always prefer an attractive design or image over an ugly or neutral one.
2. Creates the first impression
There is a popular saying that goes thus; “first impressions last longer.” So accurate!
The first impression when meeting someone face-to-face can affect your relationship with them in the long term. It affects whether or not you like someone and will determine if you want to meet the person again. It takes only a few seconds to decide if you enjoy spending time with someone or not.
Therefore, the same thing applies online. Once a website has made a negative first impression on people, chances are they will not come back next time. Whether you like to admit it or not, we’re all guilty of sometimes judging a book by its cover – meaning visual appeal plays a large part in establishing brand affinity with your website visitors.
3. A positive first impression can increase overall satisfaction
Without no 2, you can’t get here.
In an experiment conducted to study the effects of product expectations on subjective usability ratings, participants read a positive or a negative product review for a novel mobile device before a usability test. The control group read nothing.
4. Increase tolerance
Visual appeal is a quality in itself. It can be a great advantage that you use to cover other, less convenient aspects of your website. Obviously, it should be the ultimate goal to design and build the perfect website. But, at the same time, this can be difficult to achieve with so many different pieces contributing to the big picture. So ultimately, your website will be great in some ways, but there will be room for improvement in others. If your visual design is top edge, your visitors will be more forgiving for deficits in other areas.
In conclusion, visual appeal matters. A lot. My advice: Don’t try to save money on design. People form their opinion about your site in milliseconds. The first second on your website might matter more than all the seconds that follow (if any do). Make sure that one second makes a great first impression.