In today’s UIEtips (User Interface Engineering's newsletter), I wrote an article titled Communicate Quick: First Impressions Through Visual Web Design. Here's a preview:
"Within the first moments of encountering a Web page, people jump between the distinct visual areas of the page trying to get a sense of what they are looking at. It’s at this point that people are looking for a sense of the “kind” of page they’ve gotten themselves to. Is it a listings page where they can buy the product they need? Is it an FAQ or forum that might have the answer they want? Have they found an article that could provide the information they are looking for? The visual presentation of a Web page can answer questions like this up front by organizing the elements on a Web page in a manner indicative of its role.
Once a Web page passes the crucial 2-3 second “what is this” test, its next challenge is getting people to the information they need. Once again, the presentation layer can help by utilizing visual relationships to make key information areas quickly scan-able." Read more...
Check out the full article on the User Interface Engineering site.