Web users want site designs to be both easy to use and helpful, as prior human-computer interaction (HCI) studies have shown. But most such studies haven’t ranked interface design features in achieving these objectives. Since this knowledge can positively impact site design or re-design, this article will ask and answer the question – is there a single interface design feature that maximizes both user goals; usability and utility? If so, how important is this feature compared to others?
Web users form first impressions of web pages in as little as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second), according to Canadian researchers. In the blink of an eye, web surfers make nearly instantaneous judgments of a web site’s “visual appeal.” Through the “halo effect” first impressions can color subsequent judgments of perceived credibility, usability, and ultimately influence our purchasing decisions. Creating a fast-loading, visually appealing site can help websites succeed.