Websites – form over content

BBC: Internet users make up their minds about the quality of a website in the blink of an eye, a study shows. Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a twentieth of a second of viewing a webpage. … If people believe a website looks good, then this positive quality will spread to other areas, such as the website’s content. Since people like to be right, they will continue to use the website that made a good first impression, as this will further confirm that their initial decision was a good one.

In that case, I assume the same is true of blogs.

Technorati Tags:

  • Doesn’t RSS render this theory redundant? (Especially for blog posts, 100% of which I read in my RSS reader…)
    This is another classic example of research that’s significantly detached from reality.
    Commissioned by a web design company, methinks.
    Too cynical?

  • It’s still very relevant for e-commerce sites, which is what I think the survey was trying to highlight.

  • Certainly for e-commerce sites and for corporate web sites it’s important. I don’t think RSS makes this irrelevant since you need to visit a blog to subscribe or to comment.
    For me anyway, the design of a blog can enhance or detract from my perception of the content. And also impacts how long I might search it for interesting content or background on the author.

  • True.
    But in some cases all I’m looking for is the RSS feed button.
    Anyone else get annoyed by the way some people put it so far down the page? Now THAT’S bad design.

  • True.
    But in some cases all I’m looking for is the RSS feed button.
    Anyone else get annoyed by the way some people put it so far down the page? Now THAT’S bad design.

  • Yeah – agreed, you want to be able to find the subscribe section easily. Often, I just use the URL and my reader finds the xml or atom feed, so in that case it’s not a prob.
    In thinking about this more deeply, my first impression of a blog is normally an extract of a post from another blog, or an excerpt in a search engine. That draws me to the blog, and then the design either reinforces or undermines my initial reason for visiting. I’m less likely to subscribe if the design is poor since it shows lack of care for the reader and I won’t enjoy commenting on the blog.

  • Nobelizer: Not everyone knows about RSS. Design absolutely matters. Om Malik’s is a case in point – elegant and entirely reflective of the content. However you get there.

  • Morgan,
    When we last met you were taking me to task (in a very tactful PR way) for the design of Blog Relations’ blog. I changed it around Christmas time. Hope you noticed in the blink of an eye. We have been getting more visitors this year… Could well be the design…so thanks. And also, after criticism from readers, I moved our RSS feeds to top of page. More subscribers followed.
    Hugh