Internet users can give Web sites thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to a study by Canadian researchers. This article is recently appeared on Reuters. The study was published in the latest issue of the Behavior and Information Technology journal. In just a brief one-twentieth of a second — less than half the time it takes to blink — people make aesthetic judgments that influence the rest of their experience with an Internet site.
“It really is just a physiological response,” Gitte Lindgaard told Reuters on Tuesday. “So Web designers have to make sure they’re not offending users visually.
“If the first impression is negative, you’ll probably drive people off.”
In the study, researchers discovered that people could rate the visual appeal of sites after seeing them for just one-twentieth of a second. These judgments were not random, the researchers found — sites that were flashed up twice were given similar ratings both times.
They also matched the responses given by subjects who were shown the sites for longer.