Sure, first impressions are important, but how fast do people really make judgments online? With the astronomic number of Web sites available on the Internet, it's impossible for any one person to spend enough time to thoroughly investigating each site in order to make a sound conclusion about its contents. According to this News.com article: "Internet users judge Web sites in less than a blink."
A study by Canadian researchers of the Behavior and Information Technology journal confirm these findings. "In just one-twentieth of a second—less than half the time it takes to blink—people make aesthetic judgments that influence the rest of their experience with an Internet site."
Think about the implications this study has for the field of Web site design. Author Gitte Lindgaard explains, "It really is just a physiological response, so Web designers have to make sure they're not offending users visually." Personally, some of my biggest visual Web site turn-offs are pop-up ads and obnoxious flash files. What is the biggest aesthetic faux pas you've come across while searching the Web?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.