baabaa design blog

The Silent Seller Every Website Needs

The Silent Seller Every Website Needs

(Posted on 23/01/15)

How long does it take the brain to identify something?

A minute? Less than a minute?  

Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that it can take as little as 13 milliseconds for the brain to register an image.

The imnplications of this are extremely important for anyone considering having a website designed for their business. If it only takes 13 milliseconds for the brain to process what it sees how long does it take to form an impression of a website?

The average person who clicks on a website in the search results will form their impression in 50 milliseconds according to Stanford University research.

As the saying goes nobody gets a second chance to make a first impression.

This is about the time it takes for the visual information to travel from the eye to the top processing part of the brain. This is the bit that tells you whether you like what you are seeing or tells you to just click off and go somewhere else. 50 milliseconds is not a lot of time.

Businesses invest a lot of money in sales and marketing yet they sometimes neglect one vital area – what people in the design world call ‘the silent seller’. It is the silent seller that grabs a customer’s attention in that 50 milliseconds and makes them feel comfortable buying something.

The silent seller makes a good first impression. It doesn’t make mistakes and once it’s employed it will continue to bring in customers 24/7 seven days a week.

The silent seller is graphic design and you will see all kinds of examples of graphic design good and bad every time you visit a web page. Websites need graphic design as much as they need the functions that make them work.

At its best, graphic design presents a business as successful because it LOOKS successful. If visitors like what they see, then they are more likely to be attracted by the products or services on offer.  

I once came across a business owner who invested tens of thousands in marketing and just a few hundred pounds in graphic design. The website was selling products valued at £30,000 while investing comparatively little into how that high end product was presented or the overall impression created by the website.

The result was a website that attracted a large number of visitors yet few if anyone bought the high value products. Visitors reaching the website were attracted by the product and then turned off by what they saw. It wasn’t until the website owner hired a graphic designer that his fortunes began to turn around.

It is easy to assume that a few graphic design imperfections here and there will go unnoticed. The fact is people are more attuned to websites and graphic design even if they are not consciously aware of it.

The visual processing is done in less time than it takes to think about it. By then it can be too late if a customer thinks that a competitor’s website is designed better. The impression is that the people behind websites that look better care more.

Customers, no matter who they are, like to know that the people they are buying from care.  

Graphic design is such an important part of the success of a website because it defines the strength of a brand. Most people don’t buy products, they buy brands because it’s the brand they trust. Good graphic design creates brands that quietly connect and websites people want to buy from.  

As design evangelist, Shane Meendering said, "Bad design shouts at you. Good design is the silent seller."   

By Brett Tudor

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