Skip to main content

Be Better Blog

Strategy & Insights

Google Research: Don’t Let Your Website’s First Impression Be Its Last

May 4, 2021

People hovered around computer pointing at website

Your business website needs to pack a punch. Fast. Google Research found in a recent study that for users to fully engage and interact with your business online, their experience with your website needs to resonate within one second.

In fact, it was proven that people form judgments of a website’s attractiveness within 50 milliseconds.

According to the study, “a websites’ first impression is known to be a crucial moment for capturing the user’s interest. Within a fraction of time, people build a first visceral ‘gut feeling’ that helps them to decide whether they are going to stay at this place or continue surfing to other sites.”

What does that mean for your website? In order to convert, it needs to be visually appealing and quickly provide solutions to your consumer’s problem. Ensuring your site is outfitted with a combination of cutting-edge technology through website design and a concise, creative content strategy that stands out from competitors is of utmost importance.

Visual Complexity and Prototypicality are Key to First Impressions

Google Research found the two things that determine a user’s first impression are Visual Complexity (VC) and Prototypicality (PT). It sounds complicated, but VC and PT can be broken down into easy-to-understand, actionable measures that will heighten your user experience and get consumers to convert.

Visual Complexity (VC) is defined as the website’s visual appearance, and it seems to have a significant influence on users’ attitudes and intentions. Notedly, the more visually complex a website is, the less likely a user is to engage.

While this seems counterintuitive, simplicity in design has a measurable impact on the user’s first impression of your website. If a website is overburdened with images, content, and clickable buttons, consumers are overwhelmed or exasperated – they can’t find what they are looking for quickly!

In order to remedy the VC of your site, it’s imperative to implement a clean, straightforward design that speaks to users’ intent. Namely, your website should have concise, relevant content near the top of the page, and while there should be rich imagery, it shouldn’t overshadow your business’ value proposition.

Prototypicality (PT) is defined as the amount to which an object is representative of a class of objects.

Let’s break that down into digestible bites. PT in website design can be thought of as having images or symbols represent categories. Think guitar images or icons for a music category or an airplane image/icon for a flight category.

Keep in mind that over time, through internet interaction, users develop certain expectations of how websites look. Our brains may act in mysterious ways, but associating website images with clickable actions or categories is not one of them.

How to Leverage Visual Complexity and Prototypicality for User Engagement

According to Google Research, users are able to grasp the VC and PT of a site within milliseconds of landing on the page. Too much Visual Complexity and they leave, too little Prototypicality, and say “sayonara, consumer.”

Luckily, you can take steps to ensure your website makes a lasting first impression that both engages and converts.

As an award-winning digital performance marketing agency, we specialize in developing websites and creating an optimal user experience that loads within a second. Our website designs are visually stimulating and strategically relevant to search intent. Time and again, our clients have reaped the benefits of our design services with stunning, clean websites that straddle the line between VC and PT.

If you’re ready to reinvent your website and ensure that your user’s first impression isn’t the last, let’s talk!

Up Next