January 18, 2017

Why do we need 50 milliseconds to evaluate the quality of a web site?

In 2006 a group of Canadian researchers (Lindgaard, Fernandes, Dudek and Brown)
published an article called "Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression" in the Behaviour & Information Technology journal. Lindgaard and his team found that a 50 millisecond exposure to a web site is enough to form a perception about the quality of a web site.

Building on this study, together with my Spanish colleagues Carlota
Lorenzo and MCarmen Alarcón del Amo, we published a paper in the Journal of Internet Commerce in 2013 called "Web Aesthetics Effects on User Decisions: Impact of Exposure Length on Website Quality Perceptions and Buying Intentions" where we looked to the effect of short (1 second) exposure on buying intentions.

Both studies relate short exposures to effects but they do not
explain why this is happening. What is of course interesting here is why the short exposure to an object (and a web site for that matter) can shape people's behavior; 50 milliseconds is so short that we actually do not see much of the object.
We will try to give an answer to this question together with my PhD intern Letizia Alvino and one of our Master students using neuromarketing techniques. Hope to publish the results but I will keep you posted anyway.