By Dr Bill Haig, Guest Contributer
Part 1 of 2 The Logo and Home Page Credibility Requirement
When visitors land on a website, the first thing they do is mentally evaluate in an instant whether they can trust the information on the site enough to continue. Like all information, this is a matter of whether or not the source of the information can be trusted to overcome perceptions of risk, uncertainty and even possible identity theft. Trust or no trust happens during the visitor's initial impressions or "first glance" at a website when visitor is still unfamiliar with the vendor.
In people to people interaction, we evaluate the person doing the talking before we accept the person's message. On a website, we evaluate the company behind the information. The company is evaluated at "first glance" during the first three seconds of a website encounter.
But on a website, the initial period of trust is not based on personal experience with the vendor. The visitor and vendor do not have a personal relationship history. The visitor makes a trust evaluation on what information, verbal and visual, is available. Otherwise, the vendor is faceless.
What do visitors look for during this critical period?
Research indicates that perception is done at "first glance" and on the basis of whether the company is considered credible or not. Further, visitors look for what is termed "surface" cues for credibility. Stanford University web credibility researcher, Dr. B.J. Fogg, describes "surface credibility" as simple inspection of surface traits non-verbally communicated by visual design.
In people to people communication this would be how a person looks, his or her dress, or hairstyle. Whether the person is neat or sloppy. These are "surface credibility" characteristics. We often hear the phrase, "you don't get a second chance to make a first good impression."
Why is a first impression of people important? We trust or don't trust the credibility of people upon first meeting. This leads to accepting, or not accepting, what they have to say. The same is true at the moment of "first glance" at a website, except we look at the how credible the company logo and home page looks through non-verbal design elements. In an instant. This is critical for continued website success. The objective is to turn visitors into trusting customers who move on after "first glance" within the website for the purpose of purchasing a product or service.
Wrong imagery. An ambulance company shows its product in Heaven. Why visitors move on.
Website studies on visitor use conclude that over seventy per cent of visitors leave at "first glance" if they do not consider a website credible.
On the positive side, my PhD research concluded that four times as many visitors will continue as conversion rate customers if a credibility-based logo is on the company website at "first glance" compared to a non-credible logo.
My research supports that of Dr. B.J. Fogg and his Stanford (as in University) Web Credibility Research, (http://credibility.stanford.edu/guidelines/index.html). Savvy website owners have two easy opportunities to look credible and boost visitor website trust at "first glance" to increase conversion rates:
1. Show that there is a real organization behind the website, as an honest trustworthy company. This is done most effectively with a credibility-based logo design sm representing the company. The credible company logo is usually in the upper left hand corner of the website. Perception theory in communication persuasion suggests that people immediately want to know the source of the message which follows. Just like when we often look first for the name of the person on an envelop or post card.
Similarly, visitors to a website look at the company logo, or search for the company name if there is no logo, at "first glance."
2. Show that there is a credible organization behind the website with an appropriately designed home page. A company website home page must be designed with the same appropriate credibility traits as in the company logo. This will also give consistency in credibility traits important to the company behind the website.
Logos and home pages are perceived almost simultaneously. People perceive the "whole" before they perceive the parts. Although the eye will go immediately to the company logo or name (as a part) after perceiving the "whole" or overall visual character of the home page. Thus, the company credibility-based logo design and the home page design must have a consistency in credibility design "look." For example, the logo cannot have a contemporary design and the home page a dated design.
The bottom line is that the whole visitor perception, logo and home page, must communicate credibility to assure the visitor continues at this initial web experience --- at "first glance." These first impressions are key to trust building and continued visitor conversions to being a customer.
About Powerlogos Design and Dr. Bill Haig
Powerlogos Design is the only creative and research based logo and home page design firm using proven principles in source credibility in communication persuasion to optimize online marketing. We call this Website Optimization at First Glancesm. The process we use is termed credibility-based logo designsm and credibility-based website designsm.
Started as an online firm in 2001, Dr. Bill Haig maintains the philosophy that logo and home page design apply proven communication persuasion principles enabling clients to have the assurance that their company logo and home page will be successful at "first glance." A unique and inexpensive logo and home page test methodology can be used for further, data based, assurance.
Powerlogos Design analyizes and plans client credibility traits before design commences. A questionnaire is provided and a Logo Planning Report is prepared which includes a verbal description of the design objectives for the new credibility-based logo and subsequent home page. The company uses top international designers to interpret the objectives and create the preliminary and final designs. The result is a new logo and home page which works, done efficiently based on a mutually agreed upon plan, then created by top designers --- all under the supervision of Dr. Bill Haig.
Dr.Haig is a specialist in source credibility in communication persuasion principles applied to logo design, website credibility and online testing. He has over forty years experience in logo design and recently obtained his PhD applying his logo knowledge to website credibility and online testing. He developed a unique online logo and home page testing methodology during three years of university supervised research.
Dr. Haig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for part two of this article!