The Canadian team showed volunteers glimpses of websites, lasting for only 50 milliseconds. The volunteers then had to rate the websites in terms of their aesthetic appeal.
Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a web page. The judgments were being formed almost as quickly as the eye can take in information.
The researchers also believe that these quickly formed first impressions last because of what is known to psychologists as the “halo effect”.
If people believe a website looks good, then this positive quality will spread to other areas, such as the website’s content.
Dr Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and lead researcher of the paper concluded that: “Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors.”
via bbc news