Web design is so much more than trying to make your website look pretty. There is a whole host of psychologically-based ideas that go into the design and architecture of your website, or at least there should be! Your website will elicit emotions from your visitors, and the emotions your audience feels is going to play a part in whether they decide to become a customer of yours.
It’s easy to have a website that hosts information and gets across basic facts, but having a site that pleases customers and helps them associate positive emotions with your brand is going to ensure that your website is doing everything it can to help you and your brand make its sales quota.
While the internet is an excellent tool for gathering information, the downside is that anyone can publish information to the World Wide Web, regardless of expertise or valid data. And visitors are well aware of this fact. They’re not likely to “take your word for it” just because you ask it of them. That means that is is paramount to create a sense of trust and transparency with your website visitors. For most buyers, the feeling of trust is numero uno when deciding where to purchase.
So how do you do this?
If you ever quote someone or list a statistic, make sure to include where you got the information. A stand-alone quote or stat is likely to leave visitors thinking, “is that number made up?” Don’t make your site visitors pause what they are doing and investigate on their own. Not only is this incredibly frustrating, but your information in your site looks far more credible when you can back up what you’re telling your consumers.
Also, make security a priority on your site. Not only has Google recently begun to give preference to websites with higher security levels, but consumers have started to become more savvy about protecting themselves. If they have a hint of doubt that your site is safe and secure, you can kiss your web traffic and even your sales goodbye.
This is a snippet taken from the Stripe website’s home page. Here they show logos of brands that they help to service, all of which are high-profile brands that are familiar to their customers. This encourages the everyday user to use their product since larger brands use and trust them. This is an excellent example of establishing credibility, which helps to create trust.
We’ve all had this experience at one time or another: You’re in a store, and you’re looking for something specific. You walk past each aisle. You scan the rows to see if the product you’re looking for is visible. You read the lists of what is in each aisle, and you even walk up and down the sections you think you might store the product. But you still can’t find it!
You probably felt a bit irritated and annoyed at that point, right?
It is the same concept on a website. Even if a visitor has never been to your site before, they should be able to navigate your website with confidence. The layout should make sense, the tabs should categorize the information efficiently, and the look of the pages should be consistent enough that the site visitor might even be able to anticipate where they would need to go next. And if they can’t anticipate, utilize Call To Actions that stand out and make it clear that it is the next step in the buyer’s journey.
This is the top section of the home page from Asana. The tabs at the top are clear in their intent, the website has a clear flow to it, and visitors can feel confident in clicking a button and knowing what to expect. Their Call To Actions are also colorful compared to the background and
The idea of simplicity on a website reaches into a couple of different categories. However, the largest one is website content. Say a website’s homepage had so much information on it that the reader wouldn’t know where to begin. This could lead potential customers to feel overwhelmed and even stressed out.
When it comes to organizing your website’s content (including text, images, and videos), think about the standard reading patterns your customers have. English-text readers naturally move their eyes from left to right, then down to the next section, and left to right again. This essentially creates a “Z” pattern on the page or site. Crucial information or main takeaways should be placed at the top left, middle, and bottom right of the page. This gives customers an easy pattern to follow and also encourages them to absorb the central message of the page.
It is also incredibly important to utilize white (or blank) space. Not only will this help the page look less crowded and less overwhelming, but having areas to break up images or text can help the site visitor digest the information better. Most people aren’t going to want to read through a brick wall of text. Leaning toward a minimalist attitude with your web design will be incredibly soothing to your target audience.
The beginning section (or the section “above the fold”) on the Airbnb website is straightforward. Most people use the site to find a location to book, so they have an easy form to fill out so visitors can start the process of booking. Down below there are sections that explain new features, homes around the world, and a section for those looking to rent out their spaces.
Humans can be a little narcissistic by nature. We love to make things all about us and how things affect our lives. If someone is visiting a website, they are going to want to know why and how your brand might be relevant to them, and they want to recognize the value of your products and services.
This means whenever possible you should personalize content or make it interactive; it will better engage your audience. Your web design should focus on highly-relevant content and should reflect what your potential customers want to see. This means you should put yourselves in their shoes and ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What is the need/problem they would have to make them look for a company like yours?
- What would they need to know to feel like their problem has been solved?
- How do I display my product/service so that I can best solve the problem my customers have?
The Evernote website is an excellent example of making your service relevant and fostering recognition with your audience members. Evernote is a program that helps with all forms of note-taking. Much of the web design and content on this website is focused around selling the idea of why you would want/need this note-taking program, even if you never thought you needed one before. It’s also laid out in easy-to-digest chunks of information with clear and professional images.
There is a lot that goes into web design, particularly if you want to elicit specific emotions and reactions from potential buyers. Getting the help of a professional graphic designer will go a long way in helping you capture the emotional response you’re looking for.