How to make a brilliant first impression

Well, this is what we promised you last time – how to make such an utterly brilliant first impression that the visitor to your web-site will stay not only for that crucial initial ten seconds, but for the crucial next twenty seconds too.  As discussed last time, if they stay looking for this long, then there’s a really good chance of a positive outcome.

So how do you do it?

Well, we’re going to cover this over a series of articles over the next few months; in this first one we’ll go over the basics.

No magic wand …

I suppose we ought to admit that sadly there is no magic wand for website design (or if there is no-one has found it yet!).  There are, however, general principles that apply to all types of first impressions, that while to a great degree are common sense are, surprisingly, often ignored.  So first let’s take a look at what these are.

Characteristics of brilliant first impressions

How about this for a list to get going:

  • be positive
  • be likeable
  • be authentic
  • be interesting
  • be enthusiastic
  • be inspiring
  • be friendly
  • be at ease
  • be attentive

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at the Harvard Business School, has carried out a study of first impressions and has concluded that in fact we make not one but two: “We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is, and that’s trying to answer the question, ‘What are this person’s intentions toward me?’ And we’re also asking ourselves, “How strong and competent is this person?’”

She believes that the two traits of confidence and trustworthiness account for 80 to 90 per cent of first impressions.  Wow!  So let’s add these to the list:

  • be confident
  • be trustworthy

Given that all this happens very quickly, and to a large degree is subjective and emotional, and let’s not say irrational but intuitive, while not forgetting often irrecoverable (i.e. the first impression(s), once made, are hard if not impossible to change later), then we begin to appreciate the challenge facing us.

Characteristics of all brilliant first impressions on web-sites

Looking at that list, you’ll probably agree how hard it is to achieve all that face to face, when you meet someone for the first time.  How much more difficult, then, to create a brilliant website design when all that’s happening is that someone is looking at images and words on a screen of some kind?

Of course, you can’t achieve everything on the list – at least initially – via a website.  But as we said, you can achieve some of them, and you can certainly give out the same type of image, and so be absolutely brilliant.

There are two really good pieces of news for you:

  1. given how much web activity goes on, there is now masses of data available to guide us on what brilliant web design is
  2. you’re in exactly the right place to find it J

Next time we’ll get into some of the detail …

But, like last month, if you really can’t wait, click here for our home page, here for our contact page, or call us any time on 020 7199 8713 and our team of experts, as always, will be delighted to help you.

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