By Rieva Lesonsky
Are you redesigning your small business’s website, or launching a new website for your company? Then you should know some crucial information about what elements of your website are most important to customers.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and reported by Business News Daily found that overall, your website has a mere 2.6 seconds to make a good impression on users. The study used eye-tracking software to see how long it took users to hone in on one part of the site, which parts attracted their attention first and how long they spent scanning each element.
Researchers Hong Sheng, an assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T, and and Sirjana Dahal, a graduate degree holder at the school, monitored how participants’ eyes moved as they looked at websites. They then analyzed how long participants spent looking at on particular elements of web pages, including the logo, menu, images and icons related to social media tools.
Here’s what areas of the website got the most attention and were deemed most important to users:
• The logo. Users spent an average of 6.48 seconds looking at this area before looking elsewhere.
• The main navigation menu. This was a close second to the logo; users spent an average of 6.44 seconds looking at the menu.
• The search box. Users spent slightly more than 6 seconds here.
• Social networking icons. Links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter attracted users’ attention for an average of 5.95 seconds.
• The site’s main image. Users spent an average of 5.94 seconds looking at the dominant image on the page.
• Written content. Users spent about 5.59 seconds scanning this.
• The bottom of the website: Users spent an average of 5.25 seconds here.
Researchers also found that “pleasant colors” on a Web page created a good impression with users, although they didn’t specify which colors were considered pleasant.
What’s the takeaway for your business? “As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user’s first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization,” Sheng told Business News Daily. Make sure that your logo, menu, images and content all work together to create a favorable impression and keep users on your website.
Image by Flickr user Miranda Granche (Creative Commons)Google+