First impressions don’t just happen when meeting friends of friends, a potential date, or on a job interview while out in the real world. They happen each and every day on the Internet as well, which coincidentally enough, is where people seem to judge and make first impressions either more harshly, or favorably — depending on the content. When people come take a visit to your website, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for them to form a first impression, according to recent eye-tracking research conducted by the Missiouri University of Science and Technology.
Now, we’re not talking about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (which are all very good examples of how to use the aesthetics of design to make a good impression) but the web pages of businesses, tech sites, and blogs. When first encountering a site, viewers spent 2.6 seconds scanning it before focusing on a particular section. They then spent an average of 180 milliseconds focusing, or “fixating,” on one particular section before moving on.
By using eye-tracking software and an infrared camera, researchers monitored the eye movement of participants while they scanned web pages. There were seven sections of the websites that attracted the most interest from participants: the logo, main navigation, search box, written content, site’s main page, social links, and the bottom of the site.
By understanding how these seven areas of the site are viewed by visitors, it will give you the knowledge to make the necessary improvements, which are imperative to getting people to spend more time on your site. While color wasn’t studied, it was noticed that people reacted more favorably to pleasant, attractive colors and easier-to-read text color contrast. Images also played an important factor, with viewers favoring more appropriate images.