Using best practices for web design is critical if you want to stand out from the competition. While many may understand certain web design best practices, not everyone dives into how those practices interact with the human mind.
Experts in the field know it goes beyond simply having an attractive website. A quality web design company should offer expertise into the psychology of designing a great website – those factors that will subconsciously attract and engage visitors.
While great images and attractive design are important, it’s just as important to take your design ideas even further by understanding how different elements influence the human psyche.
The Psychology of Web Design
A good web design company should include design psychology in their discussions. Those with expertise in the area always consider the way that certain site elements will influence people to take, or not take, certain actions.
The psychology of web design includes how colors, spacing in the design and even typeface can affect a viewer’s mood. These elements come into play along with emotional elements in web design to give viewers certain impressions and feelings about your business and product.
While it’s a subject that can cover a lot of ground, examples of psychology in web design include:
Color. The use of color can affect a consumer’s emotional reaction to your website. For example, blue promotes calmness and trust, while green is associated with nature and money. Black promotes the idea of luxury. Using yellow and orange on call-to-actions buttons often works well, as these colors give a feeling of excitement and action.
Typefaces. Different typefaces spark different associations. Look at the Old English font used on the New York Times masthead - that connotes trust and authority. Sans serif fonts look sleek and modern. Comic sans promotes lightheartedness and fun. They are usually used on sites aimed for younger people. Knowing your brand and who your audience is will help in determining the right font for your website.
Content. People respond better when they feel things are directed to them specifically. We’ve previously discussed the benefits of personalization in digital marketing and the same applies to websites. Personalized content that speaks directly to users - using the word “you” for instance - and discusses their specific areas of interest gives many consumers a positive, friendly feeling that builds trust in your brand.
Space. How does it feel when you look at a crowded webpage? It seems chaotic and disorganized which will be a turn-off to most visitors. On the other hand, one with little content or uncomplimentary design elements seems flimsy and insubstantial. It’s important to find a right mix of pleasing design and content saturation, then balancing both to generate positive feelings from visitors.
Guiding viewers. A smart web design company creates elements on pages to guide a reader’s eyes, eventually leading them to the design element you want them to focus on, often a link to another page or a call-to-action button. A simple yet often overlooked guiding element is stating what you want visitors to do. Just like it sounds, it’s directly telling people what they should do next as they navigate your site.
Understanding patterns. As newspaper and magazine publishers learned long ago, readers tend to scan pages in a “Z” pattern. That means the most crucial elements of a site should be at the upper left, middle and bottom right of a page. It’s the way we as humans are wired to read, so the websites we build should accommodate those thought patterns.
If you’re in the market for updating your website, these are some of the time-tested psychological approaches that any good web design company will include in the scope of your project.
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