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Style me pretty: impactful first impressions


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A first impression can make or break your website. Learn the research behind how people see and interpret different types of images, and how it affects experiences. From a figure’s gaze to smile to posture, give your images a persuasive boost that will impact conversion rates on your site. Use this data to select the best (most appropriate) images for your website.

Presented at the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) User Focus 2012 Conference in Washington, DC.

Published in: Technology
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Style me pretty: impactful first impressions

  1. 1. style me prettyimpactful first impressions Sarah Weise, Linna Ferguson, User Focus 2012 Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  2. 2. You’ve got 1/20 of a second. Flip through the next few slides as quick as you can – spend less than a second on each! Booz | Allen | Hamilton
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  11. 11. At first glance, what did you notice?What you notice… What you don’t… Photos Content People Navigation Colors Interaction Layout Ads Feelings Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  12. 12. Emotions, not reason,drive online behavior.
  13. 13. you’ve got 1/20 of a second. make it count. 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. Dr. Lindgaard, Carleton University, describing her 2006 research on the halo effect
  14. 14. How to make first impressions count… 1. Impactful Images 2. Visual Simplicity Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  15. 15. Not just for designers… Why are photos never really discussed in UX terms?! - James Chudley UX analysts are taught to build vanilla wireframes, and test paper prototypes without considering images. But images are crucial to first impressions (and impact whether a customer even stays on your site at all to become a conversion). They should not be left until the last minute. They should be part of initial analysis, and carefully selected to suit the target audience.Source: Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  16. 16. What do you notice firsthere? Despite the noise, youwill most likely focus on Bob What do you see?Marley’s face. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  17. 17. Impactful ImagesWe spend more time on sites with people and faces. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  18. 18. Impactful Images Emotion + Reason = I want one!You see how the gorilla pod is will capture treasured moments of you and your loved ones (emotional brain). You see how it hooks to things so it is functional (rational brain).The content compliments the emotion of the image, but you probably didn’t even read it. The images are far more important than the content for a first impression. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  19. 19. How would you do this on a government site? Booz | Allen | Hamilton
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  21. 21. Take a moment to flip between the previousslide and this one…One image makes a huge difference!While the previous slide shows a site thatseems clean and customer-focused, this siteappears disorganized and organization-centric. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  22. 22. Impactful Images We follow faces and gazes.Source: Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  23. 23. Do you find yourself looking at Obama’s face?Yes, especially his eyes! But wait… that’s not the point of this site. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  24. 24. Here your eye moves from Romney’s face to the faces of yourFacebook friends who you recognize. It draws you into the sign up area and encourages you to share your email and zip to get started. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  25. 25. Some more things to consider… Can your audience relate? This photo may be successful at influencing those with children. But those without children looked at it and said “This doesn’t seem like a site for me.” Use photos that speak to key target audience groups. These people don’t look real. Stock photos are not always your friend. Gimmicky stock photos of unrealistic people with huge grins actually decrease your site’s credibility. 3-2-1 Action!Action photos are most persuasive. They allow the user to imagine herself doing whatever is going on in the picture. Notice how the person is gazing and pointing his body towards the text as well. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  26. 26. What feelingscome to mind?Does this site seemvery credible? Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  27. 27. Oh yes, Governmentsites are guilty ofclutter and poor firstimpressions too! Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  28. 28. Take the old USAJobs.govfor example.The main task is completelyobscured. It looks like ahoarder designed it. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  29. 29. Visual Simplicity White space is your friend.The main task is now simplypresented, and surroundedby white space. It is nowclear what you can do onthis site now! Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  30. 30. Visual Simplicity It doesn’t have to be white. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  31. 31. How to simplify…Group Hide Displace Remove
  32. 32. The human brain can holdapproximately 4 groups ofinformation in short-termmemory at a time.Too many groupings on awebsite place a memory loadburden on the customer – itliterally makes a customer’sbrain hurt! Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  33. 33. The revised layoutsignificantly reducescontent groupings onthe homepage, whichactually increasesmemory retention. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  34. 34. Visual SimplicityHide items so users don’t become overwhelmed.
  35. 35. So what did we learn?People are wired to find human faces and gazes. Use impactful images Don’t wait to choose the right image Point gazes at text to encourage customers to readCustomers like white space and clean designs, and don’trespond well to clutter at first glance. Reduce the number of groups Create visual simplicity Apply targeted layouts Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  36. 36. You’ve got 1/20 of a second. Booz | Allen | Hamilton
  37. 37. make it count. Linna Ferguson and Sarah Weise are members of the User ExperienceLinna Ferguson703.585.7268 Team at Booz Allen Hamilton. For a combined 20 years, they helped clients increase site traffic, prevent drop-offs, and boost sales by enhancing user experience. @vafoodscaper Their experience extends to government, non-profit, and e-commerce websites and applications. A snapshot of their Booz Allen Hamilton clients includes U.S. Army, Coast Guard, Veterans Affairs, FederalSarah Weise Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, and301.346.0308 Washington Performing Arts @weisesarah Over the past 4 years, Linna and Sarah have presented at UPA conferences in Portland, Munich, and DC. Booz | Allen | Hamilton