Creating an attractive website is a fairly simple process. It just needs to have a clean layout, readable font, and some beautiful imagery. But to create a truly effective website which builds trust and boosts user engagement — you must go a step further and incorporate some of the principles of web design psychology.

Web design psychology is about understanding how different techniques can affect a visitor’s emotion, perception, cognition, attention, motivation, and behaviour. It helps designers create engaging websites that resonate strongly with their intended audience.

Considering the principles of web design psychology when creating a website will help you keep your visitors happy. They will also be more likely to perform the actions you want them to perform —such as  making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or telling their friends about your product.

Although the topic might sound complex, there are several simple techniques which any web designer or business owner can put into practice. In this post, I’ll share some of the best techniques and explain how they can be used to improve the effectiveness of your website.

Web Design Psychology Principles

Colour Psychology

Colour can have a significant emotional impact on users and can influence their actions. The types of colours which leads to specific reactions varies based on a person’s psychological makeup, biological conditioning and cultural imprinting. However, the most common associations are:

  • Red
    Romance, warmth, excitement, intensity, energy, love
  • Orange
    Energy, wealth, happiness, enthusiasm, warmth
  • Yellow
    Happiness, optimism, energy, intensity, attention
  • Green
    Nature, health, money, tranquility, coolness
  • Blue
    Calmness, loyalty, trust, truth, coolness
  • Purple
    Wealth, royalty, wisdom, respect, tradition
  • Brown
    Stability, reliability, security, comfort, nature
  • Pink
    Love, romance, fun
  • White
    Innocence, purity, tranquility, relaxation, cleanliness.
  • Black
    Power, intelligence, death, strength, authority.

You should choose the colours which align with your brand and elicit a useful emotional response from visitors.

Trust and Confidence

It’s important to build trust and confidence with your customers. To do so, you must use a combination of symbols, colours, images, and text which convey an impression of reliability and honesty. Some of the website elements that build trust include:

  • Badges (money back guarantee, accreditations, SSL certificates)
  • Client logos (prominent brands that work with your business)
  • Payment logos
  • Images of key employees
  • Text describing you or your business in detail
  • Social proof (likes and shares from social media platforms)
  • Testimonials
  • Contact information

Pattern Consistency

Pattern recognition is one of our most important survival instincts. It is useful because it helps humans identify source of food and survive predators. This powerful instinct is still in use today.

When we look at web pages, our brains automatically analyse the layout, colours, and white space to look for patterns. For designers, it means symmetry and repetition remains effective. Headings of the same value should be the same sizes, product boxes should be the same size, and so on. It also means that important page elements like the search box and home button should be placed in the same location throughout the website for consistency.

Brand Consistency

It is critical to be vigilant about how you are presenting your brand to consumers. It should have the same (or very similar) appearance across all platforms and throughout your website. A high level of consistency helps to improve each consumer’s perception of the trustworthiness and reliability of your business.

Images That Reinforce Important Concepts

Images help a person understand what a website is about. They can also build trust, help them feel air ease, and provide a sense of belonging. It’s important to ensure that the images you use on your website have a clear meaning and be well-aligned with your brand.

If you are a health company for example, focus on images that reinforce good health. That can include images of healthy people, food, and activities. Avoid abstract or shocking images, which only confuse visitors.

Psychological Triggers

There are several psychological triggers that can prompt a person to act in a certain way. In terms of online marketing, the most commonly used psychological triggers include:

  • Scarcity
    Telling a prospect that there are only 10 limited edition items available. They may experience fear of missing out, which can compel them to make a purchase.
  • Exclusivity
    Making customers feel like they are in an exclusive club or have access to an exclusive deal.
  • Reciprocity
    The reciprocity principle is a law of social psychology which states that individuals feel obliged to repay a gift. So, if you give customers a gift of some form, they will feel obliged to pay it back by making a purchase or performing some other action.
  • Social proof
    Social proof can give visitors more confidence that your business is trustworthy.
  • Fear
    Fear is one of the greatest motivators of human behaviour. In terms of online sales, it is very useful for prompting a person to take immediate action.
  • Curiosity
    We are curious creatures by nature. Incorporating some intrigue into a website can increase user engagement with certain types of visitors.

Reading Patterns

Humans tend to scan images in the same way, using a Z-pattern. They typically read horizontally across the top, before scanning diagonally across the page, then horizontally across the bottom. This psychological trait is why so many web pages have a logo on the top left of the screen, where it will be seen first. This should be kept in mind when situating the most important elements in a web design.

Provide Plenty Of Breathing Room

Web pages that are cluttered full of information are difficult to scan. They can also cause a feeling of claustrophobia amongst visitors. The simplest way to avoid this issue is by using properly white space. White space can also be used to focus the attention of the user on pieces of content that matters the most.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many simple ways to incorporate the principles of web design psychology into your website. Just remember to design a website that suits the psychology of your target audience. This will guarantee that your website design is successful.

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