How to Use Psychology in Your Web Design

Published Jul 13, 2018. Updated Jun 14, 2019.

How to Use Psychology in Your Web Design

The human brain is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It sends and receives messages about what we see faster than our conscious can comprehend and forms opinions we might not even know we had.

But when it comes to getting more customers for your business, the brain can be a force to be reckoned with. If you want to get on your audience’s good side, you need to tap into what’s really going on in their mind so that you know how to respond in a way that puts your company’s good foot forward.

This is especially important when it comes to designing your website. Your website is often the first impression a new customer has of your business, so it needs to resonate with them from the second the page loads. Using psychology in your web design gives you happier visitors who are more likely to respond the way you want them to … i.e., make a purchase, fill out a contact form, or visit your physical store.

Ready to start using psychology in your web design? Here are the basic psychological elements we include in every website we build.

1. Opt for an open layout

One of the hallmarks of modern web design is an abundance of white space, i.e., space not occupied by text or another visual element.

More blank areas mean fewer distractions as your visitor scrolls down the page. And when visitors aren’t distracted, your brand messaging shines through much more clearly.

Take a look at the two websites pictured below. The first is a much older design that crams nearly every inch of free space with harsh, distracting elements:

old website screenshot

Image via

The second is a newer design (which we created for an awesome client) that leaves plenty of space for the eyes to rest:

new website screenshot

Which website was easier for you to focus on? Which site’s messaging was easier to understand?

We’re guessing you picked the second one. That’s because white space allows viewers to easily focus on the important elements without having to search through clutter for them.

The psychology element kicks in when you consider the effects of that searching on your visitors. 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website they initially have trouble accessing, and 40% will go to a competitor’s site instead. And while we usually quote that statistic when talking about pages that load slowly, the same goes for pages that are too crammed with visual elements to easily read.

Your visitors don't want to have to work to find information. They want it to be obvious as soon as the page loads. The more effort they have to put in to read your website, the more likely they are to leave and never come back.

So if you want your website to be as user-friendly as possible, start with an open layout.

2. Pick a font that goes with your brand

If you didn’t put much thought into choosing your brand’s fonts, now is the time to do so. Fonts are some of the most effective ways to convey a message about your brand, but that message may not be what you think it is.

Serif fonts, for example, are an older style that conveys a sense of stability, practicality, and maturity. These fonts would work well for more serious, professional industries, like lawyers, doctors, and universities.

serif sans serif fonts

Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, are a newer style that appears fun, modern, and approachable. These typically work well for businesses in fast-changing industries like marketing or tech, or fun-focused industries like events or food.

Read more: Digital Marketing for Restaurants: An Essential Guide

3. Let color speak for you

One of the easiest ways to use psychology in your web design is through color. Color can be up to 85% of the reason people decide to buy from a company and can form 90% of a customer’s opinion of a brand in just 90 seconds.

That’s because each color comes with its own set of hidden meanings that our subconscious recognizes even when we don’t. Here are just a few:

color psychology

Think about how you want your website visitors to feel when they see your website and choose your colors based on that. And if you want to learn more, read our previous blog, How to Benefit From Color Psychology in Your Web Design.”

4. Write for the user

If you really want to use psychology on your website visitors, then you need to take a long, hard look at your website copy.

Does it focus on your customers’ needs and pain points? Or does it only talk about how great your company is?

Too often, companies lose sight of the real purpose of their website once they start writing their copy. What should show customers a clear solution to their problems instead shows them a team that doesn’t understand their needs.

To get in good with your customers, you have to see things from their perspective and show them that you do. Once they see that you’re sympathetic to their problem, they’re more likely to trust you with the solution. Build trust with them so they feel comfortable buying from you.

Read more: 7 Tactics to Establish Trust and Grow a Loyal Audience Online

See things from your customers’ perspective

Ready for a website that connects with your customers on a deeper level? Our team can help. We’ll identify your customers’ biggest pain points and tailor your website to them so that they know you’re the right company to help. Contact us to learn more or to get started on your project.

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