The Science of Beauty and Simple Web Design

Web Design 2014 Big Red SEOWe here at Big Red SEO like the old saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” When you boil it down, it essentially means that what makes something beautiful is hard to pin down. While beauty is subjective in just about every category, there are some current trends in web design that our Big Red SEO team suggests you take advantage of to make sure that your visitors find your site attractive.

In August 2012, Google researchers found that visitors judge sites for their visual appeal astoundingly fast, within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second! That’s not a lot of time to make a good first impression. In addition, visually complex sites are regularly assessed as less beautiful than simple ones, and those that are “highly prototypical,” that is, with layouts that correspond to other sites in their categories, are rated as the most attractive overall.

In this article, our Big Red SEO web design team in Omaha will look at why concepts like visual information processing theory and cognitive fluency are important to building a more attractive website, which can lead to more conversions for you!

What’s a Prototypical Website?

This is a big word for a pretty simple concept. Basically, your mind creates an ideal model for the things you see and interact with. By establishing these prototypes or ideal models, we naturally sort the things we see into categories that are familiar, understandable, useful and beautiful.

For instance, when we say the word “car,” the image that pops into your mind is probably a sedan with four round wheels and seats that face forward. If someone tried to sell you a car that didn’t have these things (say it has 3½ square wheels and backward-facing seats), you’d be hard-pressed to call it a ‘car’ and you definitely wouldn’t buy it, at least not with the idea to drive it.

Users interact with websites in a similar way. We have specific mental images for each type of website we visit, whether it be a social network, e-commerce site, or a blog. If a site you visit claims to be an e-commerce site but doesn’t look like one according to your mental picture (let’s say it doesn’t have product descriptions or a search function), you probably won’t shop there.

What’s Cognitive Fluency Got to Do with It?

This is where familiarity comes into play. The basic idea behind cognitive fluency is that users enjoy working with models they’ve seen before. To use the same example, users like e-commerce sites that have a search bar at the top of the page, navigation and sorting options in the left sidebar, and a shopping cart in the upper right.

Why? Because that’s what most e-commerce sites have.

Why? Because that’s what Amazon has.

Since Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, most online shoppers have used it and know how it works. Its site layout has become second nature to online shoppers and has thus become the standard for what an e-commerce site should look like and be able to do.

The lesson here: if your visitors are used to certain standard features in your site’s category, make use of those features! They enhance familiarity, and familiarity is beautiful.

Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!

While we at Big Red SEO believe that making use of familiar models to enhance your conversions is good advice, we don’t want you to take it as “do what everyone else is doing.” There’s a happy medium you should trying for between making end-user experience familiar and comfortable and doing what makes you unique! The important thing is to understand what standard web design features are most effective for your bottom line in which circumstances, so you can avoid reinventing the wheel where it isn’t necessary.

Our SEO team in Omaha loves to talk web design and search engine optimization strategies that will take your business to the top of search engine rankings, so if you have any questions about this post or SEO in general, give us a call today at (402) 522-6468!

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