Everywhere on the internet there are great websites with horrid content. Then there are websites that have great content but horrid web designs. Do first impressions really matter on the internet, as long as you are getting the information you desired? What if you do a search on a topic and you land on an uber ugly website, would you consider reading it? Does the horrific layout scare you away? Will you give it a chance?
I know personally, I will judge the website on design right away. It is the first thing I see, if the colors are too bright I hit the back button, if texts are too big, if navigation is confusing, I turn around and just hit back. You can say I am a racial internet hater on web designs. You may think that I need to read and get to know the website first before putting judgment on it.
Well... let's take a look at a real life example here:
Imagine a small skinny fry goes on a speed dating service (I do not know why these things exist) trying to find his love partner. Each girl he encounters are of different value, personality, and of course the way they look. First girl he meets is a beautiful lady with a a sloppy personality. Second, a HUGE lady wearing a mu mu but great personality and style. The third, a skinny well dressed lady with a great personality. Lastly, a moderate size lady with a poor sense of style and fashion.
There are different answers here and all of them can be right, but base on first impression I doubt a small skinny guy will never go for the HUGE lady (just generalizing). She has a great personality but first impressions are always what we think and how we judge. So this really applys to web designs? I know I do it all the time, the website may have great content but I really wouldn't want to try to navigate and look at a layout.
Here is a great example: I love the information Andy Beard has on his blog but I hate his design and template. There are huge headers, his sidebars takes forever to load, but he has great content. The first time I have been to his blog several time from SERPs I simply just left. After hearing his name on the internet a couple times I decided to read a post from his blog. I found his posts to be really informative but I can't stand to be on his blog because of the clutter. To solve this I subscribed to his RSS :).
This is something to think about when design your web presence on line. Think about what you want your readers to react. This is a reason why so many web sites get their web site designed professionally or buy a premium template. They want readers to stay and read their information. I understand if you are a new and do not have money to start off with a professional design, but find a clean free template.
Here are some things that I look for before I make a racial profile on a web design:
Layout and design is very important because it holds all the content within the website, the navigation, your external links, banners, graphics etc. Your layout is the main view of the design - it is what users see first and have a first reaction to. If they can not navigate or can not contact you, then I think or believe the web design is poor.
Choice of colors are very important this WILL stick out more so than a layout, especially if you have BRIGHT pastel colors. Bright colors do catch the eyes but can be tiresome to a reader if they decide to stay on your site longer. Also, having a bright color can easily deter your reader from the main content of your site. A reader can be reading your content but having a bright pink border might cause your reader to digress off the main topic.
This is very important as well. If I can not go to the home page or find a better topic to read then I will definitely get lost on your website or blog and just leave. This is like going to Walt Disney land without a map, your readers will get lost and get mad. So properly place your navigation where it is easy for readers to see right away and easily find. Giving your readers a way to navigate will make your users happier and stay much longer on your website.
- Load Time
I look at this as well because I do not want to wait forever for a website to load, if it does not even show the layout I just leave. The reason for this is we live in a fast pace world now, everyone wants their information fast and quick. The internet has changed the way we look at information. We can learn how to cook in 5 minutes by reading a small article on a specific dish, rather than going to the local library to read a book or magazine.
Is it fine to judge a website right away? I find myself doing it all the time. I pre-judge before I get to the content, just because the design is poor or the colors just dim my mind. First impressions are crucial and more so on the internet. If you want to be viewed as professional you need to look professional online. Start creating your brand with respect to your budget. If you can not afford a great design, get a free unique one. Once you have established yourself upgrade your self to a premium template or get a web design specifically customized to your liking.