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First Impressions Form Quickly on the Web

Missouri S&T researchers use eye-tracking software to analyze impressions of websites. 

When viewing a website, it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression, according to recent eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology. But it takes a little longer - about 2.6 seconds - for a user's eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression.

"We know first impressions are very important," says Dr. Hong Sheng, assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T. "As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user's first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization."

Sheng's research with Sirjana Dahal, who received her graduate degree from Missouri S&T last December, could also help web designers understand which elements of a website's design are most important for users.

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