A new study offered in the Behaviour and Information Technology
journal illustrates that users of the internet judge within the first 50 milliseconds whether to remain on a page or not. The study, done by researchers in Canada, offers the theory that individuals do not even have time to look at the content before judging whether a site is interesting to them.
An average human takes a little over 50ms to read a single word and comprehend it, so the study puts more pressure than ever on the creative ability of a web designer. "Visual appeal can be assessed within 50 milliseconds, suggesting that web designers have about 50 milliseconds to make a good impression," said Dr. Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University.
Study attendees were flashed multiple websites for 50ms apiece, and asked to rate them for aesthetic appeal. The samples were then mixed up and shown for longer periods of time, requesting the subjects evaluate them on attractiveness and effectiveness. The results were nearly identical.
So, for those of you who design web pages, is this good news or not? All the more reason to hire a graphic designer to drive your coder batty, or would you still prefer to do it all yourself? Drop into our forums
and let us know... and feel free to let us know the effectiveness of our own site!