“People form their opinion about your site in milliseconds. The first second on your website might matter more than all other seconds that follow.” – Peep Laja, founder of CXL

A visitor’s first glimpse at your website has a lasting impact on their perceptions regarding your company. Within about 50 milliseconds, a potential customer’s mind has already created a long-standing first impression that will impact any and all decisions they make in their interaction with your website. Research, utilizing eye tracking methods, has shown the importance of this first look impression. For example, one study concluded that a good first impression correlated directly with the duration of a participant’s interaction with a web page.

The quality of your website can also have a direct impact on a user’s perceptions about your company as a whole. Websites are often a customer’s first interaction with your company and research has shown that the quality of a website influences how potential customers feel about the quality of the product or services that company offers. When dealing with such an integral part of your website’s success, and having such limited time to make a positive impact, how do decide what changes should be made?

The biggest factor relating to a user’s first impression is a website’s design. Customers often pay more attention to superficial pieces of a website, like visual cues, rather than the actual content. Research related to this idea has found that the majority of website users admit that, not only does the visual appeal have an effect on their decision to leave a website, but also their decision to purchase products or services.

What does this tell us? Prospective customers are quick to judge and those judgments will have a direct and lasting effect on their behavior when interacting with your website. What can be done to fix a website that provides a bad first impression? First, take a look at the aspects of a webpage that draw the most attention from a user;

  • Your company logo
  • The navigation options
  • Hero image
  • Written content
  • Bottom of the website

Are these item intriguing? Do they catch a user’s attention? Are they intuitive? Next, evaluate your website as a whole. There are five key components that impact the customer experience on a website;

  • Appearance
  • Professionalism
  • Clarity
  • Load Time
  • Conversions

While taking a critical look at each of these pieces can facilitate website usability, it is impossible to tell how your website is truly performing with users unless you ask them. This is why user experience research is such an important component in your web design process. Make a great first impression by including UX research into your website’s design.


Also published on Medium.