Content is King?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Content is King? Evidence says otherwise. Text isn’t accepted as credible until three subliminal thresholds or hurdles are overcome first. Also, known as our “first impression.” In testimony, below are links to academic papers, references, and other web-design best-practices.

Bad user experience.

Barrier #1 Slow loading pages.

eople hate slow websites. Speed (or page load time) biases users toward positive-or-negative judgements. This is the halo effect or first-impression. Slow site performance is rude, and decreases web credibility. Speed is not a conscious feature to visitors (transparency). No one notices a fast page – only slow ones.

Speed Solutions
Remove usability barriers such as browser incompatibility, cross-device malfunctions, horizontal scrolling, or slow page load (bloat). Optimize images and code. Use browser add-on tools and online evaluations for improving page optimization.

Barrier #2 Lack of balance between classic and expressive design.

n 50 milliseconds people evaluate if your site’s body language is attractive and credible. It’s purely visual and at-a-glance. Human preference is for websites that make sense (i.e., clear and legible) and are stimulating. This requires a balance of classical and expressive aesthetic elements.

Classical aesthetics correspond to visual clarity and usability, but when overdone produce boredom. Expressive aesthetics use ornamentation, character, and theme for memorable branding.

Decoration Solutions
Demonstrate attention to details by reducing visual clutter. Promote consistent theme with color schemes, layout, balance, branding, typography, font size, and symbols that are harmonious and well designed. Classic design is strongly connected to perceived site usability while expressive design is needed for memorable branding.

Barrier #3 Frustrated visitors will abandon your site. Forever.


riction is an assessment
of search efficiency, user impatience, and intolerance. Page content is scanned first for value before investing serious reading time. Novelty confuses. Users prefer uniformity and consistency for a flow experience.

Good examples of reducing friction include clear links with information scent, concise form requests, and recognizable calls to action.

Friction Solutions
Make reading comprehension effortless and convenient with relevant headlines and subheads for skimming. Use no difficult language or jargon. Reduce effort, frustration, and cognitive load. Combine multi-step processes, and reduce annoying security requirements. Create fast pacing by removing annoyances like animation and frivolous features.

Other PDF download references:

  • PDF Download
    Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. (2006)
    Human-Oriented Technology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • PDF Download
    Assessing Dimensions of Perceived Visual Aesthetics of Web Sites (2003)
    Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
  • PDF Download
    Measuring Desirability: New methods for evaluating desirability in a usability lab setting (2002)
    Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, USA
  • PDF Download
    Predicting Users’ First Impressions of Website Aesthetics With a Quantification of Perceived Visual Complexity and Colorfulness (2013)
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • PDF Download
    User Experience: Buzzword or New Paradigm? (2012)
    INRIA Research Team AxIS, Rocquencourt and Sophia-Antipolis, France

PagePipe helps you balance performance and mobile aesthetics.

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"Really, I look at my site and am happy with every design element and feature. It exceeds all the goals I had for the site.” Arkansas, USA

by - Stacy M. Jones