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Web Design Tip: How the Halo Effect Influences Website Visitors

Updated on December 30, 2008

How the Halo Effect Influences Website Visitors

Halo Effect is a term that stems from work in the field of social psychology. It explains why our initial impressions about a person (e.g. she is likeable) can have a knock on effect that can influence further beliefs we hold about that person (e.g. she is intelligent). In human resources recruitment it refers to the risk of an interviewer being swayed by a positive trait of an interviewee and as a result failing to select the correct candidate for a post.

The Halo Effect In business and politics

The commercial benefits of the halo effect are well-known in the business world and, whether you realise it or not, the halo effect impacts our lives on a daily basis. Books that have a 'Harvard Classics' endorsement on the cover can sell for double the price of an unendorsed version. Adding a well-known fashion designer's name to the ubiquitous tee-shirt can inflate its price enormously. Not only do politicians kiss babies, they associate themselves with pop and movie stars so that the positive bias of personality rubs off on them.

The Halo Effect and Apple

The 'halo effect' and Apple have been synonymous since the company introduced the iPod. Customers who buy an iPod quickly become hooked on the products functionality and ease of use, this positive bias extends to other Macintosh products and many people are tempted to the Mac platform when their existing PC needs replaced.

Halo effect in Website Design

According to Research led by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ontario Web your website has just 1/20th of a second to capture the interest of potential customers. In the blink of an eye, before they have had time to read one word your content, discover your USP or be motivated by your call to action, your site visitors are making near instantaneous judgments about your company based on your web site's visual appeal.

Through the "halo effect", first impressions can create a positive or negative impression that influences subsequent judgments of perceived credibility, usability, and ultimately influence the purchasing decisions of your visitors.

Creating a fast-loading, visually appealing site can help websites succeed.

Using Social Media to influence a your halo

As the popularity of social media grows so does the opportunity to engage your target audience out-with the information silo of your website. Bookmarking, blogging and participating in interest groups or forums relevant to your cause or that of your organizations commercial goals can create a positive impression amongst your target audience before they visit your site. It is important to remain objective, refrain from hyping your products and services and be honest.

SEO Scotland: Promoting business online with professionalism and integrity.


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    • profile image

      BoyceWeb - Web Design 6 years ago

      Very interesting approach, I've never heard of the Halo principle before but it sure makes sense. Now a days social media gives people the opportunity to form an opinion on you. If you interact with your market place on a regular basis and provide quality content, it will only help you. As they say "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"

    • Chef Mac profile image

      Chef Mac 7 years ago from New York State

      Caimar a tha thu? This is good to note. Just getting started with blogging for bucks, and looking for insight. This hub is more insightful than most.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 9 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      interesting approach - first impressions = halo.... Cool

    • Peter Hoggan profile image

      Peter Hoggan 9 years ago from Scotland

      Glad you found it useful.

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 9 years ago from India

      Iam glad to read an SEO Expert.