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BizReport : Internet : March 21, 2012


Website visitors form first impression in a fraction of a second

A company's logo can establish a clear identity and is the official identifying mark. According to a new study from the Missouri University of Science and Technology it's also the part of a website that draws the most attention from visitors and plays a crucial role in making a good first impression.

by Helen Leggatt

It takes a website visitor less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression, according to recent eye-tracking research conducted by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

However, it takes longer, about 2.6 seconds, for a visitor's eyes to focus on that area of a website that most influences their first impression.

Using eye-tracking software and an infrared camera the research found that the sections of a website that drew the most interest were:

- Logo - users spent 6.48 seconds focused on this area.

- Main navigation - users spent 6.44 seconds on this area.

- Search box - user spent just over 6 seconds on this area.

- Social networking links - 5.95 seconds were spent focussing on links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

- Main image - 5.94 seconds spent looking at this image.

- Main text content - users spent 5.59 seconds with this.

- Bottom of website - users spent 5.25 seconds on this area.

The researchers acknowledge that, because the survey was done among college students, the attention to social networking links may be higher than among the general population.

"We know first impressions are very important," says Dr. Hong Sheng, assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

"As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user's first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization."

Tags: consumer behavior, eye-tracking, logo design, navigation, website design, website user










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  • Eptica Blog

    While attention spans are shortening people are still spending a large
    amount of time looking at search options – which really shows that providing a
    clear route for them to ask questions is vital for successful websites.

  • Brendan

    Did the research indicate whether the size or placement of the logo had any impact on attention or impression?  That seems like an important variable to consider. 

  • Annie

    Thanks, this info is something every webmaster should know.



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