Some businesses choose to create budget websites in the belief that saving a few dollars here and there will still provide them with an effective online presence. However, as many studies have shown, that’s rarely the case.
Whether you like it or not, potential customers will judge you based on the quality your website. So while saving money in the short term sounds like a good idea, you’re much better off investing in a high quality website now for maximum gains in the long term.
How do we prove this?
A 2004 study aimed to find out what impact design has on the trust and mistrust of health websites, and how much impact the quality of the content has.
The results were incredible.
For the study, 15 participants were directed to search the Internet for health information that was relevant to them, and then discuss their first impressions of those websites.
94 per cent of the reasons given for rejecting or mistrusting a website were design related; only 6% were content related.
Some of the specific design problems mentioned were:
- Inappropriate name for the website
- Complex, busy layout
- Lack of navigation aids
- Boring web design, especially use of colour
- Pop up advertisements
- Slow introductions to a site (splash pages, slow-loading flash introductions etc)
- Small print
- Too much text
- Overly corporate look and feel
- Poor search facilities/indexes
The following quote from the study sums this up well:
“The look and feel of the website was clearly important to the participants. Visual appeal, plus design issues relevant to site navigation appeared to exert a strong influence on people’s first impressions of the site. Poor interface design was particularly associated with rapid rejection and mistrust of a website. In cases where the participants did not like some aspect of the design, the site was often not explored further than the homepage and was not considered suitable for revisiting at a later date. The main reason that websites were rapidly rejected was due to the design of the interface. Design issues affected first impressions and could lead to the mistrust of a website.”
Here’s what some of the study participants had to say about the poorly designed websites:
“I didn’t like the color. I couldn’t wait to get out. It was an insipid green backdrop. It just put me off reading it.”
“There was nothing I liked about it at all. I didn’t like the colors, the text, the layout.”
“I found the screen too busy. I couldn’t quite latch onto anything straight away.”
It’s quite clear that design not only has a significant impact on website visitors, but in fact it is by far the most influential factor in whether people trust or mistrust a site.
If you’re about to create a new website or you’re considering redesigning an existing site, you don’t necessarily need the most beautiful site in the world. However, it does need to look good. It needs to convey quality and professionalism with a simple, organised layout, intelligent use of colours, and text that is easy to read.
These factors aren’t relevant only to websites, but as your website is often the first time your brand will be seen by potential customers, is it really worth compromising the quality of the design?
Talk to us today about your next website project and we’ll show you how much difference a good design can make to your business.