Our Thoughts

Using web design to influence behaviour: A look at the psychology of decisions.

While content might be the lifeblood of your entire digital marketing strategy, it’s the way you present it that draws attention, increases readability and helps people to remember it. As such, the importance of good Web design should never be underestimated either.

Brands need to consider the psychology behind user behaviour when people visit their websites. Different colours, fonts, themes and design layouts all play an important part when it comes to influencing the consumer journey, and getting these things right is imperative for getting as much out of your offer and the content around it as possible.

Offering unbeatable rewards.

Consumers shop online in much the same way as they shop in the high-street in that they often visit multiple stores before making a decision. To attract new customers, you’ll need to work hard to stand out among the competition not just by having the perfect website, but also by having an irresistible offer. By integrating a rewards program in your website design, you’ll be able to offer something that perhaps no one else in your field is offering, such as exclusive discounts for new customers or free shipping. You should draw attention to these benefits on the homepage of your website, making sure they’re always clearly visible and above the fold.

Instilling a sense of urgency.

Creating a sense of urgency is one of the oldest and most effective traits of modern advertising. Powerful calls to action make a lot of difference when it comes to converting visitors into paying customers, while good content to back it up can help to create a sense of trust and security. However, the way you present your calls to action and other content can also make the world of difference. For example, many hotel- and restaurant-booking websites use the fear of missing out to encourage people to go ahead and make a reservation. Sometimes, small tickers saying things like ‘currently being looked at by 5 other bookers’ can make a lot of difference. This method immediately sparks a psychological reaction in people, because it subconsciously tells them that they need to make a decision quickly before they lose the opportunity.

Drawing attention with colours.

To understand good Web design, you need to understand the psychology of colour and how it concerns branding. Different colours mean different things, something which, in some cases, is further differentiated among different cultures. For example, red, orange and yellow tend to be favoured for calls to action, since they’re warm, bright and good for drawing attention, but they’re also often a bit overwhelming for use as a primary branding colour. Luxury brands tend to favour purple, while eco-friendly brands go for green, and professionals prefer dark blue or black.

Ultimately, choosing suitable colours depends largely on your industry and target audience, but it’s also important to understand the psychological impact that certain colours have on people. For example, when people see red, they sense urgency, whereas blues and greens tend to be relaxing colours that make people feel more comfortable when they’re browsing through and wanting to enjoy a more intimate experience. As such, different colours work best in different areas of marketing. It’s all about the particular reaction you want to inspire at any given moment, and it’s not always about just making a sale.

Building personality with typography.

The options for communicating online are inherently limited compared to communicating face-to-face, but there may be more opportunities than you might think. Just as a person’s tone of voice can say a lot, typography can represent that voice online by conjuring up a certain atmosphere. Good typography gives character to your content while subliminally influencing consumer decisions, which shouldn’t come as any surprise since most readers simply skim over written content rather than read it in depth. While accessibility should be your first priority, you should choose your fonts carefully and keep their use consistent throughout your site.

For example, cycling store Mavic uses modern sans-serif fonts in its titles and navigation elements for a strong, progressive and sporty look that instantly gives the impression of modern style and reliability. Canyon uses a similar method, using high-impact typefaces to draw attention and convey a modern, cutting-edge feel. Canyon also draws attention to its eye-catching imagery using a lot of black and grey space to frame it while also conveying a feeling of sturdiness and reliability.

Final words.

In order to sell your product or service, the very design of your website needs to be psychologically aware as such that it influences the mindset of your visitors. Things like colour, typography and the careful placement of calls to action all have a subtle but important influence on purchase decisions, and they help to make your actual content much more effective. If, on the other hand, you ignore the importance of psychology in Web design, you’ll likely end up losing sales to your competitors.


At Huxley Digital, we are confident that we can help with all of your design and development requirements. Keep your eye on our Twitter feed @huxleydigitalUK for more help and advice.

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