Will a Beautiful Website Increase your ROI?
When a customer lands on your website you have literally seconds to make a good impression. Will they stay and browse or will they close you down?
Just how do you capture people’s attention to make them remain on your website?
A good starting point, to answer this question, is to look at what psychology has to say about attraction. Research in the 1990’s found that people who were physically attractive were assumed to have better personalities, lead better lives and to be more successful, than lesser attractive people. In other words – being beautiful was good.
So will a beautiful design make people stay longer on your website?
Well there are lots of ways to measure the aesthetics of a website:
- Classical aesthetics: measured in 5 categories – aesthetics, symmetry, pleasantness, organisation and a clean ‘feel’ – in other words they emphasise orderly and clean designs.
- Expressive aesthetics: measured as creativity and originality.
- Hedonic quality: this refers to the boredom vs. pleasurable aspects of a website. This research found that beliefs around beauty usually remain stable, but beliefs about usability are affected by perceived useability and can change over time.
- Visual appeal: 94% of visual appeal can be measured using a 5 point scale – whether a website is interesting or boring, has a good use of colour or not, is well or poorly designed, has a good or bad layout, and is imaginative or not. On the other hand, a surprising result of this study was that whether a website was clear or confusing, or simple or complex, did not predict visual appeal.
So there are numerous ways to measure the beauty, attractiveness and visual appeal of a website. Another piece of research, which might add further insight into this matter, found that internet users were more likely to trust attractive websites, than unattractive ones. Which is interesting because if people feel that your website is visually appealing, then it seems that they trust your brand more and trust leads to enquiries, leads and sales.
It seems that a visually appealing website can push up your ROI – but is there any more to this?
Well I am glad you asked – because there is one more factor that is important – and we have already touched on it slightly. This is about usability and beauty. Research in 2012 looked at the links between attractiveness and beauty in websites. They manipulated a website’s functionality, so at one time it was either easy or difficult to navigate and then they altered the colour scheme to be either pleasant or unattractive.
They found that if a website was very user-friendly, then users perceived it as attractive, but an attractive site was not automatically considered usable. This means that people did not automatically associate beauty with usability, but they did associate usability with beauty.
So it seems that both visual appeal and functionality are important in capturing people’s attention and encouraging them to stay longer on your website.
Given this research, you might like to poll your website visitors to ask their opinion of the aesthetics and usability of your website – and using these results you can then perform A-B Testing to determine which elements have a bigger impact on traffic and conversions.
If you would like more information on A-B Testing or how you can improve the visual appeal and usability of your website – call us on 02 82110668, email us on [email protected] or complete our online enquiry form.
Meg is a Project Manager/Producer at Cornerstone with a special interest in conversion rate optimisation. She has a business analysis background and thinks the web would be a better place if everyone looked at their web statistics daily.