You never get a second chance to make a first impression: The effect of visual complexity on intention to use websites

R. Crutzen*, L de Kruif, N.K. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Websites (e.g. intervention websites targeting health risk behaviors) can be effective in achieving their goals if they are used. The actual use, however, is often very low. This study aimed to assess the effect of visual complexity on intention to use websites, by using within-subjects manipulations of visual complexity and cognitive load (1097 trials, N = 93). The results indicate that high visual complexity has a negative effect on intention to use websites (F(1, 1095) = 14.81, p <.001), but this is fully mediated through attitude towards the website based on the first impression (F(1, 1094) = 13.41, p <.001). This clearly demonstrates the powerfulness of a first impression before interacting with a website and stresses the need for evidence-based insight into how this first impression is constituted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-477
JournalInteraction Studies Interaction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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