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"More than 83 percent of Internet users are likely to leave a web site if they feel they have to make too many clicks to find what they're looking for, according to Andersen's latest Internet survey."
How many clicks is too many? 4! What percentage say aesthetics matters? 5% for an information site and 2% for a shopping site.
The message seems clear. Make it work, and make it easy, visitors don't really care about pretty!
Link to full survey results [arthurandersen.com]
Now why don't companies listen to research?
We are getting so many requests for quotes from companies now to design a site which specify they want a flash intro and graphics all over the pages. When queried they say... because we wont to look good - for branding!
When will they wake up? The web is a great place to provide info, not just fancy billboards. And branding is far more than a pretty animated logo...
And we are not so much against flash per se.. just when it decreases usability and speed to get info people are looking for.
Do users really know what makes a good user experience?
Adverts on TV are nothing more than visual yet they are responsible for mass purchasing.
Surely a well designed site would appeal to the user without them realising all the components that make up that site.
The results of the survey are pretty obvious but I dont think that aesthetics is really that unimportant - I dont think your average user realises what makes them use or like a particular site, it is an overall impression.
>Now why don't companies listen to research?
We don't care what consumers say, we care what they do.
Although the numbers on aesthetics warms my heart and vindicates my design style, I don't believe them for a minute. People react to graphics and design, much more than they indicate in that study.
The best research measures what people do, not what they say.. Our own usability research conducted under objective conditions (and tracking what people do) shows that people give up much faster on slow down loading sites. We do have a limited and focused sample of business users however so it may not apply to more general users.