Consults, surgeries, practice management — as a busy aesthetic professional, you probably don’t spend a lot of time studying your practice website.
Turns out visitors don’t either. According to Google research, it takes just 50 milliseconds or less for online visitors to determine whether a website is appealing or not. And, as this infographic from Crucial suggests, that first impression can play a major role in whether they believe you’re credible and worth their continued attention:
There are, of course, many factors that influence people’s impressions of particular websites, but two in particular appear to play an outsized role: Prototypicality and visual complexity. In a nutshell, prototypicality refers to how representative a design looks for a certain category of websites — we naturally form mental images for how we think things are supposed to look — while visual complexity refers to the amount of mental processing a design requires. Atypical and/or overly complex websites can create negative reactions because they require the eyes and brain to work harder to decode, store and process the information.
Or, as the web wizards at Google put it:
Designs that contradict what users typically expect of a website may hurt users’ first impression and damage their expectations. Recent research shows that negative product expectations lead to lower satisfaction in product interaction — a downward spiral you’ll want to avoid. Go for simple and familiar if you want to appeal to your users’ sense of beauty.
First impressions matter — even before patients meet you
While there are innumerable factors that influence visitors’ impressions of your practice website, there’s something to be said for keeping it simple and familiar. Obviously, you don’t want it to look exactly like other providers’ sites, but adhering to standards of good design can lead to longer dwell times, lower bounce rates, and more conversions. The best approach is to work with a reputable design team, maintain an active role in their efforts, and ensure they conduct regular A/B tests to determine what works and what doesn’t.