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’s bestselling book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, has a provocative thesis. Contrary to commonsense, which warns against “snap judgments,” Gladwell argues that, often, our automatic, largely unconscious way of making decisions throughout the day is a fairly reliable way to navigate life in the modern world. “There can be as much value in the blink of eye,” writes Gladwell, “as in months of rational analysis.”

You better believe that visitors to your  are judging your brand’s competency within seconds. Actually, some studies suggest it takes as little as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second) for a visitor to decide whether to stay on your site or click away.

Well-designed websites, constructed with the  (UX) in mind, have the ability not only to keep visitors on your site, but to build the kind of rapport that leads to long-term loyalty. Poorly designed websites, on the other hand, are the digital equivalent of a brick-and-mortar store with stuck doors, broken windows and leaky pipes dripping puddles on the floor. Cue the horrified customers running to your nearest competitor, which, on the , is only a few clicks away.

Here are some of the most important principles for improving your own site’s UX design and, ultimately, winning over audiences to your cause.

Design for an overarching objective.

What’s the number-one thing you want visitors to your website to do? Design for that. If you can’t answer that question, you’re likely not ready to make a website. Truly useful websites make it abundantly clear what they’re about. Consider the most-visited website in the world, not to mention the history of the internet, Google’s homepage.

It doesn’t matter that Google offers dozens of goods and services at this point in 2020. Google’s original and still-core product reigns supreme on their site: a lone search-entry blank and the buttons to activate it surrounded by plenty of white space; all other options are minimized and pushed to the margins.