It’s been said you have 3.7 seconds to make a first impression with your website. Seems about right based on personal experience. A lot goes into that first impression, but it’s also very subjective. You are left with a very specific impression of that site almost immediately based on your lens, preferences, expectation, device, etc.
At 3.8 seconds is where I believe the user experience takes over.
How did you organize the content of your site? Can I get to the thing I’m looking for quickly and simply? If I’m reading something, do you make it easy to consume? Is it clear what you want me to do as a result of landing on this page? Is there anything here that makes we want to come back?
You could spend months on those questions. And you should! Your website has to be treated as a breathing, organic, fluid output of your business. There is no print deadline on a website so keep working it. Yes, you don’t want to change your design every week, but you can refine the content that is being served up daily/weekly as you have more data.
The key to great optimization of the user experience is to have a clear methodology for making changes. This should include a healthy dose of analytics, user feedback, testing and analysis. This allows the rather subjective “experience” to move towards something a bit more quantifiable.
Most people focus on the impression a website makes and fail to move into the guts of true experience and my guess is because it takes a lot of work. This work is critical to make your website work harder for you — and it should. Don’t just settle for getting the new pretty site live, dig in and do the work to turn that website into your #1 marketing tool.
I would love to hear any tools you use to analyze your site!