Professional web design has become vital during recent years. A few years ago, it was estimated that a visitor to a web site took about 8 seconds to decide to stay on that web site or click the "Back" button. That was then, this is now: Your web site has only about 4 seconds to make an impression on the visitor. That is not much time at all! Today, people want instant results. Few people even wait to see the entire web design before making their decision. If your web design does not grab their attention immediately, they won't stick around. And if your web site does not offer something of benefit, they won't bookmark it and they won't come back (more on that later).
So, with that in mind, let's discuss some practical ways to grab the attention of web site visitors. Then, in a future article, we will talk a little about keeping their attention with good web site content. Remember, people spend most of their time on the Internet reading. They read search results, news items, how-to articles and forums. A professional web design company will take this into account. But that is for later. First, we have to keep visitors attention (remember the 4 second rule).
Get to the Point.
We live in a fast-paced society and we are used to instant results: Microwave meals in 5 minutes, lose 5 pounds in 5 days, 30 minute oil changes, see results from fitness equipment in 20 minutes a day, and on and on.
The Internet is no different and it actually may be less forgiving of web sites that don't deliver results quickly.
The 4 second rule that we spoke of earlier does not mean that your entire web page must load in 4 seconds. Rather, it means that a visitor to your web site has to at least see something interesting within that 4 second window. So, to test your site, while it is loading, ask yourself:
- How much time passes before I see anything?
- What is the first thing I see on the web page?
- How much time passes before H can read some text?
- How long would it take a visitor to determine what the web site is about?
Try this suggestion yourself and then try to enlist the help of some of your friends. The more people you have to test your web site, the more thorough your results will be.
Ideally, the site should load top to bottom and left to right. However, your design should adhere to the reading habits of your target audience. Some countries read from right to left so, make sure you know your audience. Also, the most eye-catching elements should load first. Once these load, they will grab the visitor's attention. Then, the rest of the page can finish loading.
What Graphics Format Should I Use?
This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of web design. How many times have you visited a web site and cringed at the slow loading pictures. I'll bet you did not stick around to see everything load.