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Chapter 5: Evaluating Web Sites
First Impression
The first thing to do before you start the detailed evaluation is to stop and write down your first reaction to the site's home page. Just load the home page and look at it for at most five to ten seconds, and write down whatever comes to mind. Ideally, you will not be too familiar with the site, so the first impression will not be tainted. (Be sure to clear your browser's temporary files and cookies to make certain that your results are not skewed by the site already being cached.) If you are very familiar with the site, you might want to get a few other people, show them the site, and ask what they think on a scale from 1 to 5 (where 1 is a negative feeling and 5 is positive). The point here is to gauge a user's initial feeling for a site—remember, people aren't always rational. Unfortunately, a first impression is only just that if it is truly the first time you are looking at a site. Don't discount this part of the test. Even though a first impression may be an emotional reaction heavily influenced by visuals or environment considerations, record it and try to understand what causes your feeling. If users coming to a site have a very positive or negative first impression, it could certainly affect their desire to go further.

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