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1

Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

A study has shown that users judge sites within the first twentieth of a second and that their decision has a lasting impact.

The lasting effect of first impressions is known to psychologists as the "halo effect". If you can snare people with an attractive design, they are more likely to rate the site more favourably. According to the researcher Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, this is because of "cognitive bias". People enjoy being right, so continuing to use a website that gave a good first impression helps to prove to them that they made a good initial decision.

The study is published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology vol. 25.

Links:

  • The article Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

Henrik Olsen - January 18, 2006

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93)  Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6) 


 

2

Usability is more important that aesthetics in the long run

The October 2005 newsletter from HFI is a discussion of how beauty can influence users' overall impression of a product and how to measure the product-emotion relationship.

The newsletter mentions a study by M. Hassenzahl where a MP3 application was evaluated with a variety of different visual designs. They study showed that:
- When participants only looked at the MP3 player, the overall rating of the product was based on its perceived beauty and anticipated usability
- When participants were allowed to use the player, the overall rating of the product was more influenced by participants' experience of using the product

The study suggests that the emotional aspects of a design are important in attracting customers in the first place. However, when the product is judged through usage over time, usability is what matters most.

Links:

  • Is Beauty the new usability attribute?

Henrik Olsen - November 16, 2005

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Usability testing (30)  Research (93) 


 

3

Principles of visual design

Joshua David McClurg-Genevese takes a look at the principles of balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance and unity that guide the arrangement of objects within a visual design.

Links:

  • The Principles of Design

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2005

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4

The core principles of visual communication

According to Luke Wroblewski, visual communication is a key component of interface design and unfortunately often under-represented in interaction design methodologies.

A well thought-out visual organization "can greatly enhance usability by grouping information into meaningful page elements and sequences. Such a system relies on an understanding of how people use visual relationships to distinguish objects and what those relationships reveal to viewers..."

In a presentation, Luke Wroblewski introduces the core principles of visual communication and how they can be put to use in the design of web applications.

Links:

  • Visual Communication & Web Application Design

Henrik Olsen - May 01, 2005 - via InfoDesign

Permanent link Comments (1)


 

5

Big, bold, and colourful doesn't make things noticeable

The fact that people tend to ignore big, flashy, and colourful banners at the top of web pages suggest that screaming out loud doesn't guaranty that something will be noticed.

According to Don Norman, this has to do with conventions. People guide their search using previous knowledge about websites and direct their attention directly to the location most likely to contain information of interest, such as lists of blue underlined links.

Don's moral: "...if you want something to be salient, follow conventions. Violate the conceptual model, even if the violation seems perfectly sensible, and you are apt to discover that readers miss critical information."

Links:

  • The article Banner Blindness, Human Cognition and Web Design

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2004

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See also: Ads (6)  Web page design (23)  Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

6

Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

For people with little experience in interaction design it's tempting to equate visual simplicity with usability. But there is more between heaven and earth than meets the eye. The Q4 issue of GUUUI takes a look at some common pitfalls, where studies have proven that what appears to be simple isn't always what is easy to use.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - September 30, 2003

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See also: Web page design (23) 


 

7

How people evaluate a web site's credibility

Consumer WebWatch has published a research report by B. J. Fogg and the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab on how people evaluate web sites' credibility. 100 sites in 10 content categories were studied and total of 2,684 people completed the survey.

When asked to comment on site's credibility, the top 10 issues addressed by the survey participants was:

1. Design Look (46.1%)
2. Information Design/Structure (28.5%)
3. Information Focus (25.1%)
4. Company Motive (15.5%)
5. Information Usefulness (14.8%)
6. Information Accuracy (14.3%)
7. Name Recognition and Reputation (14.1%)
8. Advertising (13.8%)
9. Information Bias (11.6%)
10. Writing Tone (9.0%)

Links:

  • The research report How Do People Evaluate a Web Site's Credibility?
  • Discussion on why visual design is so prominent in the study

Henrik Olsen - March 04, 2003

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6)  Research (93) 


 

8

Perceived usability and aesthetics

Usability News has tested the correlation between perceived usability and aesthetics.

The results showed that when the test participant where asked to the predict usability of a site, they ranked the site with balanced colours and layout highest.

However, user satisfaction reported after the sessions were related to successful navigation more than aesthetic appearance.

Links:

  • The article Aesthetics and Usability: A Look at Color and Balance

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Research (93) 


 

9

form and function interview

Craig Saila interviews web designer and author of Designing CSS Web Pages (New Riders), Christopher Schmitt. The topic is form and function. This can and often does apply to usability on the functional level.

Links:

  • An interview with Christopher Schmitt

Nick Finck - January 30, 2003 - via Digital Web Magazine

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Interviews (10) 


 

10

Primer on visual design

Luke Wroblewski has written a nice primer on visual design of web pages, which condenses the core principles of functional aesthetics.

There is too little talk about visual design among interaction designers and information architects though it's an important aspect of usability. If you want to learn more, read Kevin Mullet and Darrel Sano’s book Designing Visual Interfaces.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 28, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Primers (9)  Web page design (23) 


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