Unlocking the Psychology Behind Web Design

Thursday - October 10th, 2013

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

Unlocking the Psychology Behind Web Design

An incredible amount of resources is spent analyzing marketing campaigns to measure what strategies worked and didn’t work. Fact is that brands go through painstaking processes to analyze the psychology behind their marketing efforts, but why not use this strategy to improve web design as well?

The reality is that once we can establish a framework in the psychology of the user experience, we can take advantage of this knowledge to create a site that’s efficient, attractive, and compelling. So what exactly are the psychological elements of web design?


Establish Trust

One of the immediate, yet often overlooked, elements in the basic psychological principles of web design is to establish trust with customers. Have you ever visited a new website and immediately clicked away because it didn’t look trustworthy? If we expect consumers to perform business with us, then our site has to “look” like an authoritative presence in the online world. While it’s easy to look professional, we must remain consistently attentive to detail.

Remember, visitors are almost always skeptical of new websites, especially those that are commercial in nature. Even if you’re not a professional designer, we all can pinpoint a trustworthy site from a sketchier one. In other words, if you’re having doubts about the timeliness of your site and whether you need an update, it’s probably time for one.


Create a Sense of Familiarity

While you certainly want to be creative and boast a website that is unique to your brand, you must also reconcile this with the fact that consumer psychology shows us that web users prefer familiar and recognizable patterns. Whether it’s in the way that your site is set up or the way that your product pages are designed, there are certain things that users expect to see on a given website – and should see.


Some of the most crucial pages in a website are an “About” and “Contact Us” page, both of which give consumers the opportunity to learn more about your brand, especially if they’re stumbling onto your site for the first time. Furthermore, a sense of familiarity will be easier to establish if your branding efforts are consistent across the platform.


Take Advantage of Psychological Triggers

Perhaps the most important psychological trigger in the practice of web design is taking advantage of imagery. Consumers can easily remember an image and associate it with an emotion that they felt at the time. By using strong visuals throughout the site, you can appeal to positive emotions such as a sense of belonging and value. Furthermore, images also reinforce important concepts that you want consumers to remember. This will make your intent clear and even help with branding efforts. Keep in mind that visual clues don’t necessarily have to be images, as something like your typography can be extremely visual as well.

Don’t forget about color psychology, as certain colors are proven to affect individual moods and behaviors. Of course, there are many color combinations and palates that you can take advantage of in order to create the best browsing experience possible for your guests. As you experiment with more and more options, you’ll begin to discover the tactics that engage your fans and which ones don’t.

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