Newer research confirms older research: Web design affects the trust it evokes in your visitors
Way back in 1999, when the internet was just a toddler, there were actually people paid to research how website design affected a human’s view of the company it represented.
Why I’d bring up research from back in 1999, we’ll discuss in a minute. But, first, meet Jakob.
Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D. is probably the best-known design and usability expert about the internet, on the internet. He’s been called one of the world’s most influential designers, although as far as I know, he doesn’t actually design websites these days. He also happens to hold approximately 79 United States patents, mostly on ways to make the internet easier to use. I think he started studying usability on the internet before the internet even existed. In other words, he knows his stuff.
Okay, so back to the story. Back in 1999, the year I got married, Jakob was one of those people researching and writing about how web design communicates trustworthiness. He discovered, that to those old fashioned 1999ers, a professional design for a website built credibility far better than one that was thrown together amaturely (not a real word, but you know what I mean). Easy and clear navigation contributed to the same as well.
It turns out, that even today, the same principles hold true. Jakob’s team did research on the same topic again in the last few years and found that humans haven’t actually changed much. We all still judge a website by how it looks.
Here’s one of the sites they used in their study.
Which website would you be drawn to? In the research, 4 out of 5 participants chose the site on the left, judging that the website was more informational and more appealing. Both of these websites offered similar products ad similar prices. If this was your business, 4 out of 5 times, your website design alone would determine who fell in love and ordered from you.
Web design matters.
Photo credits: Thanks to Michael Longmire for the photo!