10 Ways to Influence User Behavior Through Web Design
Contrary to some previous economic models, human beings don’t behave as rational decision makers. Instead, we make choices based on a number of subconscious thoughts and instincts.
Websites built using the following “behavioral design” concepts can change the way people use your website:
- Prioritize your home and landing pages; they’re your opportunity to put your best foot forward. These pages should be the most polished ones on your website. Be sure to grab users’ attentions with memorable, unique images relevant to your product.
- Be aware of color psychology — probably the oldest and most widely used method of behavioral design — for influencing perceptions and targeting particular customer types.
- Black can convey danger or power and is often used with luxury brands.
- Green can represent nature or wholesomeness.
- Pink can be used to evoke feelings of romance or to specifically target women.
- Consider choosing a color different from blue, which has become somewhat of a default in web design.
- While you want your page to be memorable, don’t be too unconventional. It may be tempting to show off your creativity, but remember that most users aren’t other web designers. The average customer may be confused or turned off by a website that looks radically different from what they expect.
- Likewise, avoid excessive minimalism, especially when designing desktop sites. Minimalist webpages often sacrifice accessibility, making frustrated users quickly click the back button. Above all, usability should be your biggest priority when designing a webpage.
- Remember that copy — both what it looks like and its content — is part of design. Outside of informational pages, keep text to no more than three or so lines; walls of text intimidate users looking for quick answers. Also, when choosing your words, be user centric (use a lot of “you” language) not egocentric (don’t fill the page with “we” and “our”).
- Use a “visual hierarchy” to make important things more prominent. For example, your call-to-action button should be a different color than the rest of your page to entice the user to click. Its exact color is unimportant as long as it stands out from the rest of the page.
- Make use of light and dark contrast for emphasis throughout your design. White space is just as important to design as elements are. Lots of negative space framing your product catches the user’s attention.
- Deliberately draw a visitor’s focus across the page with eye paths. These can be literal lines and arrows or a series of eye-catching elements.
- It may be obnoxious to some, but adding a social component (like a “Click to share on [Social Media]” button) can make users feel more invested in your website. However, keep them unobtrusive and limited to informational pages like blog posts.
- Grab people’s attention with the right pictures. Use relevant “larger than life” photos or pictures of people looking directly at the user. Avoid obvious stock images that will detract from your site’s authenticity.
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