Surfers Judge Web Pages Seen for Only 50ms?

Does your Web site load quickly? A study conducted by Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ottawa claims that Web surfers can make up their minds about pages they see for as little as 50ms, and that those snap judgments are confirmed when users spend more time examining the content of a site.

In the study, published in the journal Behavior and Information Technology (a summary is available at nature.com), volunteers were shown images of Web pages for as little as 50ms (one twentieth of a second) and asked to rate the pages’ visual appeal. The participants were then asked to re-evaluate the same pages after scrutinizing them for a longer period of time. The study found that the participants’ snap judgments lined up well with the more detailed examinations: opinions formed on seeing the page for just 50ms were very similar to their opinions after a more-measured read.

Although the study’s methodology isn’t clear from the summary, it likely doesn’t conclude that Web surfers make decisions about Web pages in as little as 50ms, but rather that they can make decisions about things they’ve seen for as little as 50ms. Even the best human response times (e.g., folks like musicians and athletes responding to anticipated events) are rarely below 100ms, so it’s doubtful study participants both responded to and evaluated the pages in 50ms. The eye can certainly perceive an image in 50ms, but the brain retains an after-image of the visual stimuli and can process and evaluate that image for quite some time after the original visual stimuli is gone. (The after-image, or persistence of vision, is the reason television and film images appear to move in lifelike ways, when really they’re just a series of static pictures.)

The consistency of participants’ snap judgments and more-detailed examinations of pages may be attributable to a “halo effect,” where an appealing, attractive design may make users more inclined to regard the rest of the page positively, where an unappealing design may cast a negative pall on even the most engaging and relevant content. People enjoy being right, and tend to look for things which reinforce their first impressions before admitting their impression may have been wrong.

Regardless of the time involved, immediate perceptions undoubtedly count. “Unless the first impression is favorable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors,” Lindgaard warns.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Social Media

Instagram test reveals direct messages may be coming to browsers

Instagram for the web has always been a minimalist affair compared to the feature-rich smartphone app, but in the last few years that's started to change. The latest news is that Instagram is considering adding direct messages.
Computing

Google Chrome’s Progressive Web Apps will soon play nicer with Windows 10

Google is adding a capability to the Chrome browser in an upcoming release that will integrate its Progressive Web Apps with notification badges in the system taskbar in Windows 10.
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…
Smart Home

Perlick brings a bigger, bolder version of its high-tech fridge to KBIS 2019

Milwaukee-based manufacturer Perlick has been making refrigerators for nearly 50 years. It will be unveiling a bigger, bolder version of its popular column refrigerator at KBIS 2019.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Roomba Robot Vacuums for Presidents’ Day

Spring cleaning is just around the corner, and Walmart has already begun dropping prices on Roomba, Shark, and Eufy robot vacuums. For a limited time, you can save as much as $150 on a brand-new iRobot Roomba.
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day vacuum deals: Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell

Amazon and Walmart are offering pretty substantial savings to help kick-start your spring cleaning. Top brands like Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell are dropping prices left and right for Presidents' Day.
Smart Home

After camera hacks, Nest locks customers out until they change their password

Nest is locking people out of their accounts if it believes there may have been a breach. Users will have to set up a new, secure password before they are able to regain access to their account.
Smart Home

Champagne-colored fridges? Talking toilets? All the appliance trends in 2019

Ever wished you had Amazon Alexa in your bathroom or a brightly colored appliance? The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) starts today, and here are some of the trends we expect to see at the show and beyond.
Smart Home

Your office is a mess, and it’s making Marie Kondo cry. Here’s how to tidy it up

Here's how to "Marie Kondo" your office. If you've been inspired to remove clutter and create a minimalistic workspace that makes you happy and helps you focus on what matters, then we have ideas that you'll want to try.
Smart Home

Innit showcases new solutions for LG’s Signature Kitchen Suite at KBIS 2019

LG Electronics has equipped its new Signature Kitchen Suite devices with a host of technologies and guests of KBIS 2019 can check out the company's new innovations from Innit, including new adaptive cook programs.
Smart Home

Leviton’s Wi-Fi Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers give your home a brain

Is your home ready for a brain transplant? Adding individual smart plugs is quick, easy, and inexpensive, but the benefits are limited to one plug at a time. Leviton's Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers can give your home a brain.