Web Design Tip: How the Halo Effect Influences Website Visitors
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.
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