Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye

16 Jan 2006 - 9:18am
8 years ago
19 replies
457 reads
Rich Holman
2005

Hello all,

Good article on how quickly users 'judge' a website:
http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html

Some interesting research looking into how an impression can be made about a
website, in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing. Apparently the reason is
due to user's 'cognitive bias' and the need for user to feel their judgement
is correct. The user will attempt to back up their first impression via
further usage of a site.

The article doesn't make any great conclusions about how websites can
improve the impression a user has. So I thought maybe we could discuss ways
of making a better first impression?

Rich Holman

<http://dogwonder.co.uk>

Comments

16 Jan 2006 - 9:29am
Baldo
2005

in 50 milliseconds of viewing people can view:

1. colors (many, few, bright, dark..)
2. page structure (shape, alignment...)

50 ms seem to me quite small number..

On 1/16/06, Rich Holman <dogwonder a gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Hello all,
>
> Good article on how quickly users 'judge' a website:
> http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html
>
> Some interesting research looking into how an impression can be made about a
> website, in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing. Apparently the reason is
> due to user's 'cognitive bias' and the need for user to feel their judgement
> is correct. The user will attempt to back up their first impression via
> further usage of a site.
>
> The article doesn't make any great conclusions about how websites can
> improve the impression a user has. So I thought maybe we could discuss ways
> of making a better first impression?
>
> Rich Holman
>
> <http://dogwonder.co.uk>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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--
Baldo - baldus a gmail.com
www.sanbaldo.com

16 Jan 2006 - 9:32am
Rich Holman
2005

So fast its basically as quick as the eye can process the information.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Baldo <baldus at gmail.com>
Date: 16-Jan-2006 14:29
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye
To: Rich Holman <dogwonder at gmail.com>
Cc: ixd-discussion <discuss at ixdg.org>

in 50 milliseconds of viewing people can view:

1. colors (many, few, bright, dark..)
2. page structure (shape, alignment...)

50 ms seem to me quite small number..

On 1/16/06, Rich Holman <dogwonder at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>
> Hello all,
>
> Good article on how quickly users 'judge' a website:
> http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html
>
> Some interesting research looking into how an impression can be made about
a
> website, in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing. Apparently the reason is
> due to user's 'cognitive bias' and the need for user to feel their
judgement
> is correct. The user will attempt to back up their first impression via
> further usage of a site.
>
> The article doesn't make any great conclusions about how websites can
> improve the impression a user has. So I thought maybe we could discuss
ways
> of making a better first impression?
>
> Rich Holman
>
> <http://dogwonder.co.uk>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
Baldo - baldus at gmail.com
www.sanbaldo.com

--
Rich Holman
dogwonder.co.uk

16 Jan 2006 - 11:26am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I read this article as well. Thanks for bringing it up.

If all we really have is 50 milliseconds, then it seems like a new type of
test would have to be created to gauge response within that time frame. (If
one exists already, please correct me.) You know, something like the part of
an eye exam where the optometrist asks you which view is better between two
slides. "Which one is better? One or two? Two or three?"

You'd probably want to do this with wireframes so you can produce multiple
layouts easily.

Anyway, just a thought ...

-r-

On 1/16/06, Rich Holman <dogwonder at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hello all,
>
> Good article on how quickly users 'judge' a website:
> http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html
>
> Some interesting research looking into how an impression can be made about
> a
> website, in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing. Apparently the reason is
> due to user's 'cognitive bias' and the need for user to feel their
> judgement
> is correct. The user will attempt to back up their first impression via
> further usage of a site.
>
> The article doesn't make any great conclusions about how websites can
> improve the impression a user has. So I thought maybe we could discuss
> ways
> of making a better first impression?
>
> Rich Holman
>
> <http://dogwonder.co.uk>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

16 Jan 2006 - 11:49am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jan 16, 2006, at 11:26 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> You'd probably want to do this with wireframes so you can produce
> multiple
> layouts easily.

No, I don't believe you would want to do this with wireframes at all.
Assuming the 50 millisecond response, it would depend much more on
the colors, imagery, typography, use of white space, etc. - qualities
that most likely would not be included in a wireframe. The article
even states that test subjects were asked to rate the websites based
on "visual appeal."

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.690.2360 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

First, recognize that the ‘right’ requirements
are in principle unknowable by users, customers
and designers at the start.

Devise the design process, and the formal
agreement between designers and customers and users,
to be sensitive to what is learnt by any of the
parties as the design evolves.

- J.C. Jones

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16 Jan 2006 - 11:58am
Dave Malouf
2005

Just to confirm what Jack is offering, I have small story to relate.

I was presenting some design frameworks to my customer service team to get
their feedback. There were two major frameworks to choose from. Then I
showed each framework with a skin on it.

It took about 5 min. to convince one of the people there that a skin for
that framework was the same as the design framework itself. To be honest the
frameworks were not sketchy enough, but the designs we significantly
different at the presentation layer that they invoked a totally different
understanding of it.

-- dave

On 1/16/06 11:49 AM, "Jack Moffett" <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
> No, I don't believe you would want to do this with wireframes at all.
> Assuming the 50 millisecond response, it would depend much more on
> the colors, imagery, typography, use of white space, etc. - qualities
> that most likely would not be included in a wireframe. The article
> even states that test subjects were asked to rate the websites based
> on "visual appeal."

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

16 Jan 2006 - 12:05pm
Baldo
2005

> No, I don't believe you would want to do this with wireframes at all.
> Assuming the 50 millisecond response, it would depend much more on
> the colors, imagery, typography, use of white space, etc. - qualities
> that most likely would not be included in a wireframe.

agree...

BTW try this:

http://www.sanbaldo.com/exp/

50 ms are too small time to anything.
maybe they were speaking of 500 ms..

16 Jan 2006 - 12:26pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Good point.

Well, if one mockup can quickly be rearranged to create multiple layouts and
such, then I suppose that would have to be the way to do it. Initially, I
was just thinking that detailed mockups would take more time to create than
wireframes, and wireframes would offer a much more efficient way to handle
the test. But you're right - color and such would have to be there for the
test to be effective.

-r-

On 1/16/06, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
>
> On Jan 16, 2006, at 11:26 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
>
> > You'd probably want to do this with wireframes so you can produce
> > multiple
> > layouts easily.
>
> No, I don't believe you would want to do this with wireframes at all.
> Assuming the 50 millisecond response, it would depend much more on
> the colors, imagery, typography, use of white space, etc. - qualities
> that most likely would not be included in a wireframe. The article
> even states that test subjects were asked to rate the websites based
> on "visual appeal."
>
> Jack
>

16 Jan 2006 - 1:06pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jan 16, 2006, at 12:05 PM, Baldo wrote:

> 50 ms are too small time to anything.
> maybe they were speaking of 500 ms..

Well, it was enough for me to tell that there was a photograph of a
woman at the top, it was mostly text, red was used on the page for
something significant, and it had about three columns.

At 500 ms, I noticed that the picture was of a woman and a baby, the
red seemed to be a nav bar and something in the bottom right corner,
and there are a number of iconic graphics across the page.

I'd say that 50 ms is enough time to give an initial reaction.
I don't believe that an initial reaction gained in 50 ms has any more
power or validity than one gained over several seconds. In fact,
their test showed that the 50 ms reaction tended to be the same as
reactions of those given more time to view the page. Therefore, I
don't see any need to start testing websites or UI designs based on
50 ms viewings.

By the way, the article specifically states that 50 ms is "roughly
the duration of a single frame of standard television footage."

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.690.2360 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Questions about whether design
is necessary or affordable
are quite beside the point:
design is inevitable.

The alternative to good design
is bad design, not no design at all.

- Douglas Martin

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16 Jan 2006 - 1:29pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Wow - that's fast. 50ms hardly seems like enough time to discern anything at
all, but it does *almost* give you enough time to see the overall layout and
some color. Personally, I don't think it's enough time to make an actual
judgement, but the study shows differently. 500ms was much more effective.
Still very fast, but at least it was enough for me to absorb the layout and
separate the pieces of it.

-r-

On 1/16/06, Baldo <baldus at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> > No, I don't believe you would want to do this with wireframes at all.
> > Assuming the 50 millisecond response, it would depend much more on
> > the colors, imagery, typography, use of white space, etc. - qualities
> > that most likely would not be included in a wireframe.
>
> agree...
>
> BTW try this:
>
> http://www.sanbaldo.com/exp/
>
> 50 ms are too small time to anything.
> maybe they were speaking of 500 ms..
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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17 Jan 2006 - 9:08am
Ash Donaldson
2005

On 17/1/06 4:05 AM, "Baldo" <baldus at gmail.com> wrote:
> 50 ms are too small time to anything.
> maybe they were speaking of 500 ms..

No mistake. The article being discussed was based on one of Gitte
Lindgaard¹s latest papers, ³Attention web designers: You have 50
milliseconds to make a good first impression!², published in the
peer-reviewed journal, Behaviour & Information Technology. Gitte is one of
the most respected researchers HCI. In fact, here in Australia we have
honoured Gitte¹s contributions by naming our highest national HCI award ³The
Gitte Lindgaard Award² for the last 4 years.

To provide a little more context, the abstract of Gitte¹s paper reads:

Three studies were conducted to ascertain how quickly people form an opinion
about web
page visual appeal. In the first study, participants twice rated the visual
appeal of web
homepages presented for 500 ms each. The second study replicated the first,
but participants
also rated each web page on seven specific design dimensions. Visual appeal
was found to be
closely related to most of these. Study 3 again replicated the 500 ms
condition as well as
adding a 50 ms condition using the same stimuli to determine whether the
first impression
may be interpreted as a Œmere exposure effect¹ (Zajonc 1980). Throughout,
visual appeal
ratings were highly correlated from one phase to the next as were the
correlations between
the 50 ms and 500 ms conditions. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed within
50 ms,
suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first
impression.

Cheers,

Ash Donaldson, Senior Experience Architect

Experts in Human Centred Design

T +61 2 9908 1077 F +61 2 9908 3443 M 0414 55 9996

www.different.com.au

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17 Jan 2006 - 9:30am
Baldo
2005

>
> visual appeal
> ratings were highly correlated from one phase to the next as were the
> correlations between
> the 50 ms and 500 ms conditions. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed
> within 50 ms,
> suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first
> impression.

In my opinion, there is a mistake:
this studies only showed that first impression is always somethings people
try to defend (even if first impression is wrong).

There are many many psychological tests that show this is a behavior of
human beings
(like me: I had a first impression about this "50ms" article and tried to
confirm with a personal test - the page i linked before).

17 Jan 2006 - 11:52am
Todd Warfel
2003

Not sure I understand what you mean here by "something people try to
defend." Can you clarify that?

On Jan 17, 2006, at 9:30 AM, Baldo wrote:

> In my opinion, there is a mistake:
> this studies only showed that first impression is always somethings
> people
> try to defend (even if first impression is wrong).

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

17 Jan 2006 - 1:10pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Rich Holman <dogwonder at gmail.com> writes:

>Good article on how quickly users 'judge' a website:
>http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html
>
>Some interesting research looking into how an impression can be made about a
>website, in the first 50 milliseconds of viewing.

Feh. It took more than 5 second to load the article using my DSL
connection. Maybe snap judgments can get made in 1/20 second, but
the web just doesn't work that fast. We've got far more time than
that to let the user's opinion form.
--

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Jim Drew Seattle, WA cfmdesigns at earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 12/28)

17 Jan 2006 - 1:08pm
Rimantas Liubertas
2006

> Thus, visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms,
> suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first
> impression.

So, if someone CAN assess visual appeal in 50 ms, does that mean he
WON'T use more
time to the same assessment (or to assess more than just visual appeal)?

I am pretty sure most surfers seek more than just visual appeal on the
net, is 50ms enough to
assess information presented on that particular site?

My feeling is that this article is given more attention than it
deserves, and too often misinterpreted.

Regards,
Rimantas
--
http://rimantas.com/

17 Jan 2006 - 2:56pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Sounds reminiscent of "Blink."

On Jan 17, 2006, at 9:08 AM, Ash Donaldson wrote:

> No mistake. The article being discussed was based on one of Gitte
> Lindgaard’s latest papers, “Attention web designers: You have 50
> milliseconds to make a good first impression!”, published in the
> peer-reviewed journal, Behaviour & Information Technology. Gitte
> is one of
> the most respected researchers HCI. In fact, here in Australia we
> have
> honoured Gitte’s contributions by naming our highest national HCI
> award “The
> Gitte Lindgaard Award” for the last 4 years.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

17 Jan 2006 - 3:45pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Exactly what I thought. Visceral, reflexive choices (Norman) made via
ventromedial prefrontal cortex (Gladwell) due to repeated exposure to
10-20 favorite sites such as Google. In fact the title of the article
hints at that book.

Oleh Kovalchuke

On 1/17/06, Todd Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
>
> Sounds reminiscent of "Blink."
>

17 Jan 2006 - 3:02pm
Ian Chan
2005

There's no doubt that we form impressions quickly. They've done studies on
micro-expressions, which are facial expressions that occur so quickly you
don't see them. Clinton gave away his culpability in the famous diet coke
video deposition (sign seen at a protest: "Would somebody give bush a
blowjob so we can impeach him?"): slow down the video and when he says he
didn't have sex, his eyebrows furrow for a split second. The overall
expression is convincingly honest, but it's undermined for a fraction of a
second. In studies, teachers (I think) beat cops, lawyers and psychologists
in catching these expressions.

We could say the same of music. What does it mean to say the mind's quick to
recognize? We're patterned.... I don't think we need to worry too much about
eyeball readings; user experience is measured by more than impressions (!).

We still don't seem to be good at choosing presidents or, even, designing
ballots!

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>>
>> visual appeal
>> ratings were highly correlated from one phase to the next as were the
>> correlations between
>> the 50 ms and 500 ms conditions. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed
>> within 50 ms,
>> suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first
>> impression.
>
>
>
> In my opinion, there is a mistake:
> this studies only showed that first impression is always somethings people
> try to defend (even if first impression is wrong).
>
> There are many many psychological tests that show this is a behavior of
> human beings
> (like me: I had a first impression about this "50ms" article and tried to
> confirm with a personal test - the page i linked before).
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

17 Jan 2006 - 4:23pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 01:08 PM 1/17/2006, Rimantas Liubertas wrote:
>My feeling is that this article is given more attention than it
>deserves, and too often misinterpreted.

Well, I *just* got off the phone with a reporter from CNN about exactly
this. Had to explain to her that just because information about the page
can accurately be communicated in 50ms doesn't mean that 50ms is all you
need to make a successful page.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123 jspool at uie.com http://www.uie.com
Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks

17 Jan 2006 - 4:43pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Relevant quote from the article:
"People enjoy being right, so continuing to use a website that gave a
good first impression helps to 'prove' to themselves that they made a
good initial decision."

The quote describes common "Aesthetic-Usability" effect. Mimicry via
pure graphic design also might create it. Keeping and deepening this
effect with subsequent usage is what frequently overlooked by
Marketing, of concern to Usability and where blink judgement could
fail.
--
Oleh Kovalchuke

On 1/17/06, Rimantas Liubertas <rimantas at gmail.com> wrote:

> So, if someone CAN assess visual appeal in 50 ms, does that mean he
> WON'T use more
> time to the same assessment (or to assess more than just visual appeal)?

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