Justifying Blood, Sweat, and Pixels

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 7 min read

We might wish we didn’t have to justify our craft, but we all know it’s important to have facts and figures that can point to the direct return on investment for our blood, sweat, and pixels. Undertaking a website redesign or revisiting a user experience shouldn’t be on your Check-the-Box Marketing list. Design and UX have a true impact on purchase intent and sales. If you’re looking for some stats to get that next big digital project through the red tape, learn more about value of design and user experience using 5 I’s: Impressions, Information, Influence, Interaction, and Investment.


First impressions really matter. The average goldfish has an attention span of only nine seconds. Believe it or not, that’s longer than that of today’s average internet user. You’ve got up to 8 seconds to make an impression. (Yes, “up to.”) It actually takes no more than 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion and decide whether or not to bounce from your site.
94% of a website user’s first impressions are design-related. Despite what you were taught in middle school, we all judge books by their covers. 42% of shoppers base their opinion of a website on “overall design alone.”
To quote our co-founder, Pete Sena, “Design is not art. Design is business … with artistic components.” 52% of shoppers do not return to websites because of aesthetics, meaning they are making decisions determining that poor design is an indicator of the overall brand experience being subpar. According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
Good-looking websites might pass the 8-second first-impression test. Good UX may help them be perceived as usable and trustworthy, but it will only get your business so far. There’s more to it.


Website design is similar to packaging design, both providing information about the service or goods being sold and used to influence or persuade the consumer. Countless studies have been conducted to prove the effect packaging design has on the consumer’s perception of the product or service.
Cheskin marketing research found that changes in packaging design impacted how consumers perceived quality, taste, and other product attributes. These studies led to a theory that in the mind of the consumer, the product or service is a combination of the packaging and the actual product or service. Keeping in mind the metaphor that a website is a company’s digital packaging, it has the power to influence perceptions, spark affinity, build sentiment, and provoke a profitable experience.
The best designers serve the needs of their users. Approximately 96% of visitors coming to your website aren’t ready to buy. They might be conducting research or just exploring, but consumers are not saying to themselves: “No matter what, no matter how bad my experience is, I am going to figure out how to complete this transaction.” Only 3% of surveyed buyers say that a provider’s website has “no influence whatsoever” on their purchase decision.

-Steve Jobs


89% of customers search the web before making a purchasing decision. It is the design and user experience that make a lasting impression of a brand and its product offerings. Whether or not that customer is ready to make a purchase on-site that day or is going to shop around, the goal is to create an experience that is reliable and differentiated enough to be memorable. Examples of a memorable experience could be anything from the ease of navigation and seamless on-site experience to the few clicks required to complete conversion for purchase.
The number of mobile-connected devices supposedly exceeded the number of people on earth at the end of 2014. Consumers associate their mobile devices with the seamless facilitation of tasks on-the-go and have expectations of capability and efficiency that can cost a conversion if a company fails to meet such expectations. For the most part, we, as an industry, are still not doing mobile well. 54% of consumers say that mobile-optimized sites don’t give enough information. Only 27% of consumers say that if a site is not mobile-optimized, they leave for another site, but 31% admit to not knowing if the site is optimized (and there’s a good chance that actual percentage is much higher).
In the age of mobile marketing, everything that is true of the importance to overall design and UX on a desktop computer is even truer on a phone, for which the opportunities for conversion increases more each day. Even Pinterest is now enabling a quick-shop option from their mobile app.


There are many aspects to overall design and user experience. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race online. In fact, a 1 second delay in site speed can result in a 7% decrease in conversion. Amazon.com found that every 100 milliseconds of load time correlated to a 1% decrease in sales. And yes, 64% of online shoppers admit to not completing a purchase because the website was too slow.
While reducing overall site load speed could require a significant amount of work, some UX changes can be implemented as one-off or separate from an overhaul. Two methods of increasing conversions, with statistics that are too impressive to disregard, are social sharing and product videos.
Websites that share credibility indicators, which can even include sharing the images and stories of trustworthy people, see up to a 144% improvement on landing pages. And product videos enjoyed by consumers, increase brand associations by nearly 140% and purchase intent by 97%.
If you aren’t prepared for a complete design and UX overhaul just yet, you can maximize your credibility factors by communicating strategic messages that help consumers connect with your product and people through user generated content, even better if you have video.


The investment of strategic design and UX has proven return on investment across site performance, site exposure, sales and conversions, brand credibility and affinity. Increased loyalty and consumer satisfaction leads to overall revenue and conversion improvements. More efficient spending results in fewer support calls and effective deployment of resources.
As Frank Spillers, web and usability expert, said, “Understanding ‘intention of return and return purchase’ hedges on one action: the decision the user makes based on their experience with the site, during and immediately after the session.”
You’ve done your part by learning the value of your blood, sweat, and pixels: how design and user experience can push your business forward. Now the hard part is communicating this to your greater team. We’re here to help, and we’re forward obsessed.



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[2] Journal of Business Research via ScienceDirect. Article: Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: an exploratory analysis By Roderick J. Brodie, Ana Ilic, Biljana Juric, Linda Hollebeek
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[16] http://UXpamagazine.org/UX_increases_revenue/
[17] http://www.demystifyingusability.com/2006/09/the_importance_.html
[18] http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/167693/socially-recommended-online-video-ads-increase-per.html
[19] http://www.exacttarget.com/sites/exacttarget/files/deliverables/etmc-2014mobilebehaviorreport.pdf