Why People DO Judge Books (As Well As Plenty of Other Things) By Their Covers…

The look on his face was totally incredulous … “So Tim,” said Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap that looks after my financial-type systems here at HQ, “What you are telling me is you’ve just bought this wine, and you can’t even drink it for 15 years…?”

Now, when a man who believes that a perfectly acceptable way to spend your leisure time is to run across 150miles of the Sahara desert happens to think you’ve done  something a bit odd, it might be time to stand back and take a look at yourself … but my reason for obtaining this particular wine now rather than in 15 years when it will be ready to drink was twofold;

First and foremost, I was making sure that I could actually get hold of some; and secondly, by letting the wine age at Lowe Towers instead of the Wine Merchants, I was also saving myself a pretty penny or two in the process.

This week’s Lowedown is not another tale about wine, however; (though I do have a great many 🙂 ) the only reason I mentioned it at all was because young Evans had not really noticed the wine as much as the box it came in…

I’ve mentioned the concept of an ‘out-of –box’ experience before in the Lowedown and this was another brilliant example. It illustrated perfectly that how an item is presented influences what people think of it before they even try it, that first impressions mean a lot and that people certainly do judge a books by their covers.

The item in question was assembled with dovetailed joints, a hinged lid, and the top of the box was inlayed with a darker wood. On the inside, was a brief biography of the wine, vineyard and the people behind it (a text that was also used as a watermark on the labels themselves). Even with a moderate knowledge of wine, you could tell that the three bottles in this box were of value, and indeed something special.

Alternatively, if something turns up at your door looking battered and forlorn and very much like it was packaged by a complete idiot, you might unpack it expecting it not to do the job as described (if it worked at all) and you would probably have minimum patience with it before asking for a refund.

With a couple of notable exceptions (like http://www.lingscars.com where the website is deliberately made to look awful but is actually quite easy to use once you’ve un-crossed your eyes) if your website is the equivalent of that battered and forlorn package, your visitors won’t stay long and almost certainly won’t do what you spent your time and money getting them there to do.

It doesn’t matter how good your information is, if it is poorly presented then often it will not be perceived to be as credible as something that is presented in a more attractive manner.

At this point though, I must insert a very large ‘However’… I am not suggesting (or ever will) that visitors to your site need to be greeted by some sort of whizzy animated sequence or you have your site redesigned at massive expense…

That type of thing is all well and good, and might leave a truly spectacular impression … provided, of course, that your visitor has the same state of the art computer and lightspeed internet connection as the person that designed it. To somebody still using Windows Vista in a cottage halfway up a hill somewhere remote – the only impression they’ll get is that the site doesn’t seem to work.

The answer then is simply that your site is clean, clear and tidy and people can navigate easily around it. It might require a ‘freshen up’ but if your site is on the WordPress platform, that can often be achieved by changing the ‘theme’ which is usually a quick job, often can be free to do and doesn’t have to involve anything too techie…
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Tim Lowe