Details. Details. Details.
A few days ago my wife and I had dinner at a restaurant in Salt Lake City. The food is delicious, especially the black bean ravioli. But they got an important detail completely wrong.
The detail? Their forks.
The weight was all wrong. Despite the fact that it was metal, the balance of the fork made it feel like cheap plastic. It's narrow handle made it feel awkward. Generally it just felt cheap. Which was sad, because it did a terrible disservice to the food.
It reminded me that details matter. Details are everything. If the fork had had a heavier handle, or even a wider handle it would have felt better. It would have felt higher quality.
Websites and all forms of design have this in common. Small details tell us about the quality of the things we interact with. From the sound of the car door you close, to the weight of your phone in your hand.
We pick up on those cues at an incredibly high rate. Malcom Gladwell wrote about this in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. He wrote about how our subconscious notices tiny details of things before we even think about it. It takes us milliseconds to develop opinions about the quality of the products around us. Without any thought, without even knowing we are doing it
This is important for those of us who create the web. Speed, layout, font selection, color. Each of these contributes to the feeling of quality of our sites. So if we want to ensure that we aren't making the same mistake as this restaurant, we need to pay attention. We need to use our sites and fight to make that experience feel high quality in every detail.