There is a biological explanation why design and user interfaces are the most important components of a high converting website.
Human beings hate uncertainty. When given the option between the certainty of a bad outcome or an uncertain future, we tend to choose the certainty of a bad one over not knowing what’s next. To manage the stress of uncertainty, “hacks” created thousands of years ago have evolved into natural behaviors that help us navigate the ambiguity of new experiences. One such behavior is the first impression. Consider your initial experiences of a new website a… first date of sorts.
When you meet somebody for the first time, you typically know within the first few seconds whether or not you are going to like them. You size up their physical and sociological features such as their age, race, culture, gender, and and other factors to determine if they are trustworthy, competent and socially compatible with you. Your brain subconsciously converts the uncertainty of meeting a new person to certainty in order to feel “safe”.
These same behaviors apply to website visits as well.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS DO MATTER….. Research at the University of Minnesota found that new users will look at the design and interface and within a few seconds assess the trustworthiness and competence of the website. If you determine the website is “trustworthy”, you are likely to remain on the website, and complete a “desired action”.
The study above also examined how long test subjects focused on particular design elements.
Time spent was used as a proxy for how important that design or user-interface element is in determining trustworthiness and competence. The results were as follows:
- Logo – 6.48 seconds
- Main navigation menu – 6.44 seconds
- Search box – Just over 6 seconds
- Social networking links – 5.95 seconds
- Main image – 5.94 seconds
- Written content – 5.59 seconds
- Bottom of the website – 5.25 seconds
The test subjects were college students and as a consequence of their younger age the importance of social networking is likely overstated. However the results of the study highlighted something that was not-so-obvious: the logo is the most important design element, followed by the main navigation menu with the footer being the least important if determining trustworthiness is your main objective. From the images on the page as well as the overall site content, every part of the user experience factors into am assessment of overall trustworthiness.
It is all about conversions
You are likely reading this post for one reason, and one reason only – to maximize the return on your marketing investment. If your website is set up to attract prospective users to initiate a desired action, then you are in the right frame of mind. Tracking ROI and conversions may seem like a simple process but the moving parts can be deceptively complicated. Generally, the formula is to divide your gross media spend by customer conversions to get your CAC, this consequential conversion rate is the holy grail of how all e-commerce businesses are judged.
Putting it all together
The name of the online game is and always will be conversions. Visitors only convert to leads or customers if they trust you, but how much faith they are willing to give your brand is determined by the quality of UI/UX on your website and the efficacy of compelling marketing material that translates digitally. The individual factors that convey trustworthiness and competence depend on industry, business goals, target market, and the expectations and experiences of your users.
So what effect does the UI/UX have on conversions? As it turns out: everything. UI/UX plays the same role on websites as physical appearance and social behavior does in the real world among humans. This rule is the science of life and of e-commerce. And for what it’s worth… nobody said it would be easy.
Happy hunting and may the force be with you.
#UI/UX #conversion #design