Why first impressions matter

It takes 100 milliseconds — that’s 0.1 second — to form a first impression about a person. Websites are no different. 

According to studies, it takes about 50 milliseconds — that’s 0.05 seconds — for users to form an opinion that determines whether they will stay or leave a website. A few years ago, Google confirmed this number — 50 ms — in their own research. 

Websites with low visual complexity and adherence to expectations were perceived as highly appealing. This was a key finding. 

People have a fixed idea of what a website should look like, and diverting from the expected is a risk, no matter how striking the visual is. Your web design should be simple and familiar.

First impressions are 94% design related

British researchers analyzed how different design, content, and information factors influence the first impressions of a website. The study was clear: The look and feel were the main drivers. 

It was found that most website critiques relied on the perception of the website design. The content is important too, but good content packed into a bad design is worthless. 

A poor interface design was associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website. And when people mistrust a website, it's the business behind it that loses — the research showed that participants rarely explored beyond the homepage when they didn't like the design.

Great design gets people to trust you and stick around. A poor design creates mistrust and makes people leave. 

A positive first impression can increase overall satisfaction

Did you know that the initial impressions users get from your website can have a priming effect on how they perceive future interactions with your business?

Research published on ScienceDirect shows that positive priming can increase overall satisfaction, but negative first impressions can make users think things don’t work well.

In other words, if first impressions are positive, users tend to like what happens next. Their brain works to validate the positiveness. When first impressions are negative, users will find it easier to dislike what they see next, even if things aren’t that bad.

That is 101 psychology. It is real, and we must consider it. 


People make snap judgments. What happens when users land for the first time on your website? What are the first impressions? Positive or negative?

Think of your website as an online handshake. It must be firm. It must be visually appealing and built with simplicity and familiarity in mind.

At Riffmax, we believe good design is simple, intuitive, beautiful, pleasant, and long-lasting. We like visual ideas that travel globally and work instantly, acceptable for everyone, from any culture, anytime.

So, what about letting us design and build your new website? Let’s make users have positive impressions about it. It’s good for your business.

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