Money may not buy happiness, but beauty buys both money and happiness, says a study published online recently that gauged happiness and attractiveness among more than 25,000 people worldwide. This recent study was conducted about how beauty affects happiness and prosperity. This really caught my eye and after reading it, I was fascinated. The researchers concluded that “better-looking people generally earn more money and marry those who are better-looking and higher-earning.” They went on to report that “the top 15% of people ranked by looks are more than 10% happier than those ranked in the bottom 10%.” Remember, these are results from a study, not my personal opinion. Thank God because I'm clearly not the most attractive person around!
An associate professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., who studies well-being, says these findings make perfect sense to him. He goes on to say…“Think about it as a gateway to getting what you want from life — job interviews, first dates, making those initial impressions, persuading and influencing other people," he says. "Attractiveness gives that slight edge. They're getting the benefit of the doubt at first sight, and unattractive people aren't."
So what does this concept mean for website design? There are similarities. When someone comes to your website he/she gets that first impression. Is that first impression a good one or one where the visitor asks "what the h--- is this place?" There are two important considerations when it comes to web design. First, if your product has an emotional element to it then you better make sure your website graphic presentation exudes the emotion you seek. For example, if you are a spa then your website better communicate relaxation, introspection and beauty primarily directed at women. On the other hand, if you are a sports bar, then your graphics better communicate fun, activity, sports and the like. You know what I mean? The second consideration is more basic - simply what I call the "credibility hurdle". That is, when someone comes to your website do you look like a credible, quality operation?
If you are in a "non-emotional" business, then your graphic presentation primarily needs to meet/exceed the "credibility hurdle" to make sure people coming to your site are impressed by you, you look competitive and present yourself as a quality operation. Many firms in the commercial construction business fit into this arena. They are selling capability and not necessarily an emotional experience. On the other hand, if you are trying to communicate a special message that sets you apart and resonates with your target customer, then you better step it up a notch or two or three and make sure that emotion you want to communicate through your website hits the mark.
In summary, beauty on a website is almost always more than skin-deep. It is just important to know who your customer is and what turns them on.