When you know more about how people look at a website, what catches their attention, what appeals to their senses, and what spurs them into action, we can create more effective website designs. Psychology is a complicated and thorough subject on its own, but even incorporating some basic principles and common sense into your next web design project can make a big difference.
With every web design project, we make sure the sitemap (layout and hierarchy of pages) makes sense. Every page should have a unique focus. This is good for the user and search engines.
We all know that certain colours can evoke certain emotions. Consider what sort of emotions you might like to encourage in people.
Nowadays when we talk to a client about what they would like to see in a web design, one of the most common words we hear is ‘clean’. This means the effective use of white space to avoid clutter and confusion. It allows people to feel more at ease, it makes content more readable, and it encourages people to navigate further and do more on the site.
In marketing, this is referred to as ‘calls-to-action’, meaning, “what is it you want people to do?”. For any particular page, focus on only one or two calls-to-action. This will increase the chances of someone actually taking action.
Website users tend to scan/read a web page in a ‘Z’-shaped fashion, moving from left to right across the top, then moving diagonally down to the left and back to the right again. This is important when considering where to play those ‘calls-to-action’ as mentioned above!
It sounds like a Catch 22, but we in fact read wider width blocks of text faster (because no interuptions through line breaks), and yet are more enticed to read shorter width blocks of text (because it looks shorter). So the strategy may be to include a bit of both.
According to a study called Eyetrack III, big bold headlines catch more peoples’ attention than even a nice image!
Within the actual content area of a web page, it is the image captions that are read the most.
There is of course, much more that’s involved when incorporating psychology into an effective web design, but here is a good basic starting point. After we develop a full understanding of a client’s needs, business goals, and target audiences, we then incorporate psychological factors into our web design process to help our client deliver on those goals.
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