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The Psychology of Web Design
Web design is much more than formatting, fonts and colors—it’s a science. A psychological science to be exact. A good website does not rely solely on content; instead it focuses on the complete user experience. For the first thing that a person will internalize when they land on a homepage is not the positive testimonials, robust blog posts or recent news mentions, it is the look of the website. It is the feel of the website. Or rather, how the website makes them feel. In short, to build a captivating website, you must understand the psychology that drives your audience’s opinions.
To construct a website that engenders mass-user appeal, you must understand the psyche of your audience. For instance, people respond positively to websites that produce a feeling of trustworthiness. If a website layout is hastily put together and lacks appropriate color-schemes, a fluid layout and transparent content, a user might think your site is illegitimate or that it contains spam. A website that boasts a clear menu bar, headers and footers with company contact information and consistent branding will encourage your audience to trust both your company and its products.
Users also react well to websites with apparent patterns. A simple, yet effective, pattern to implement throughout one’s website is the placement of logos. Try to constantly reinforce your brand by having your logo appear on the same place on every page and in multiple locations. This can be as simple as placing the logo on the header and footer of every page, or integrating it into the social share bar. There is no need to inundate your audience with your logo, but developing neurologically-pleasing patterns through logo repetition will successfully prime your audience to your brand.
In the case of building a visually satisfying website, less is always more. Using minimalism as a design tactic does not mean you’re short on content, rather, it means you do not want to overwhelm your site’s visitors. As mentioned in the post concerning successful CTAs, aim to use clear and concise content throughout your site. Websites that contain minimal and straightforward text and imagery can focus the viewer on the exact content they want to have read or seen.
To complete the viewer’s positive experience on your site, there is one more crucial element a designer needs to properly execute upon: colors. Colors, while seemingly the most superficial psychological concept, are also by far the most influential. There is even an entire branch of psychology dedicated to understanding how colors affect human behavior! Using the appropriate colors on your website can drastically improve conversion rates. If your company’s mission revolves around environmental protection be sure to incorporate greens and earth tones on your site. Or if your company’s goal is to appeal to children use bright primary colors. Every color evokes a reaction. Understand who your target audience is and then research which colors will best produce positive feedback.
The design of your website isn’t just about what looks right, it’s about what feels right. And for a company to build a successful website, they must seamlessly join the layout of their site with the psyche of their target audience. It takes a lot of research and testing, but developing a site hinged on human psychology is well worth the time.