Just as in real life, first impressions online are hugely important. A study has shown that web users decide whether they are interested in a website within just a 20th of a second. This means your site must be focussed and clear enough so that the surfer who spends that 20th of a second on your site for the first time gets the right first impression and hopefully stays for a little longer!
Making your site user friendly
Your site should be clear, well designed and easy to read. People should be able to tell exactly what your site is about as soon as they arrive – make sure you have clear titles on your pages, and use headings to draw eyes towards the main focus of your content. Keep graphics well optimised and relevant to your content.
Although your site’s index page is perhaps the most important page of your site, remember that a user may arrive at any page of your website therefore every single page of your site should make it obvious exactly what your site is about, and what it offers the visitor.
I am a strong advocate in simple, functional design. I would rather visit a clear site with well spaced text and one or two graphics, than the latest super-charged, graphic and flash intensive site where I get confused about its purpose and navigation structure.
Take a fresh look at your site, perhaps get a friend to look at your site (someone who is unfamiliar with it) – count to one and then close the browser. Is it obvious what your site is about? Did the user get the right impression about your site?
I hope so as if you had one second to look at your site, you had five times longer than the time it takes others to decide whether your site is of interest to them.