SOME corporate websites are gorgeous to look at. They make a strong impression the moment they load in your browser. They establish credibility instantly.
It’s like when you meet someone who looks attractive. You’re immediately favorably disposed to them.
Researchers have delved into the importance of looks on the web and they’ve found that a professional design is the single most important influencer on users’ perceptions — but only when users don’t have anything else to go on.
Think back to that attractive person you meet. Looks only count to a point. When they start talking and you witness their behavior, or when someone else you trust tells you they’re not credible, your impressions of them can quickly change.
On IR websites, information, utility and usability do the talking and action. Looks will take you so far and no more. Is the site authoritative, comprehensive, transparent, up-to-date and usable? Is there evidence of accountability and responsiveness?
Problem is, stuff happens. Something almost always is going to go wrong in business. When it does, people start questioning their judgments. They are less willing to rely on surface factors like looks.
Indeed, good looks and not enough substance might be a liability when things turn bad. They can be interpreted as evidence of a con, like a confidence trickster in an expensive suit.
Ugly sites with strong content might not win over people superficially, but they earn credibility over time. When things go bad, their users are probably more willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt.
Obvious, isn’t it?