Web surfers decide the worth of a site in a mere 50 milliseconds.

Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression! by Gitte Lindgaard, Gary Fernandes, Cathy Dude, J. Browñ, in Behaviour & Information Technology, Volume 25, Number 2 / March-April 2006, pages: 115 - 126. The paper shows how web surfers decide the worth of a site in a mere 50 milliseconds.

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 ‘mere exposure effect’ (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.

Why do I blog this? this is an important fact to be taken into account for interaction designers... as users' attention span is decreasing, their decision are taken very quickly... so much for Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" (Malcolm Gladwell).