You may not have realised that when designing a website for clients, what you’re actually doing is applying design principles with a psychological bent. What does this mean?
It means as the website designer, you’re using psychological principles of design rather than explicitly following your client’s aesthetics. You’re creating a website that works to attract the client’s target audience. Pan
The goal is to figure out how the target audience thinks and what makes them respond to the website. To help you out, we’ve created a list of psychology design principles you can use as a checklist when designing the website.
1). The Psychology of Colour
Colour has a strong influence on how a person reacts to or perceives something. Colour is very tied to emotions.
This means that the colours used on a website will create a strong feeling in visitors. They will have a certain perception of the website, as well as the company.
2). The Psychology of Shapes
Shapes can also affect the way a person views a brand or the content of a website. Circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, and more each have a specific psychological association.
3). Aesthetics-Usability Effect
The aesthetics-usability effect infers that when people find an interface more attractive, they will also see the interface as more usable.
As a result, using a modern, responsive website design is crucial when creating a website. These are the foundations of an aesthetically designed site.
4). Von Restorf Effect
The Von Restorf effect, also known as the isolation effect, explains what happens when a person is exposed to identical stimuli, and then a unique element is introduced.
This is an effect that is often used to grab the visitor’s attention.
5). Selective Disregard
Selective disregards are described as a type of blindness site users may have to anything that isn’t necessary to achieve their goal.
An example of this is when marketing or design trends become overused and old. Websites may use the same cookie consent banner, for instance. In that case, the banner is simply ignored by site visitors.
6). Gestalt Principles
Gestalt principles are ways humans make sense of chaotic data. The human brain tries to find a simple pattern to make elements easier to understand. For instance, a web page that contains text, images, and space is organised from the chaotic mess on the page to something more understandable.
This can be a problem, however, if site users’ brains don’t understand the precise meaning the elements were trying to get across.
There are many other principles involved with Gestalt principles, which are related to proximity, symmetry, and similarity.
7). Mere-Exposure Effect/Jakob’s Law
The Mere-Exposure Effect, also called the Familiarity Principle, is a theory that says people tend to prefer things that seem familiar.
Jakob’s Law applies this theory specifically to the user experience online. The theory says that users expect a website to work similarly to other sites they use.
8). Loss Aversion
Loss aversion is a theory that says decision-making is usually driven by avoiding losses rather than acquiring gains.
How does this apply to your website? If the site (or the content) makes visitors feel as if they can’t trust it to take action, then they’ll abandon their shopping carts, create a high bounce rate, and more.
9). Hick’s Law
Hicks law says that the number of choices a person is required to make increases the amount of time it takes for them to make a decision.
This principle especially applies to ecommerce sites. The goal here is to help site visitors to speed up their decision-making process rather than slow it down.
10). Social Proof
This isn’t really a psychological principle; however, social proof is important to websites. This issue here is that people tend to copy what everyone else does. It also carries the assumption that truth lies in the majority.
Here is why customer reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content have become so important to websites.
11). Peak-End Rule
The Peak-End rule says people tend to judge an experience based on their first and last impressions of it. This is related to the serial position effect, where people tend to remember the first and last items in a group.
So, when building the top and bottom of a webpage, be sure to keep this in mind when building the top and bottom of each page. And be sure of the start and end of the user’s experience.
12). Paradox of Choice
The Paradox of Choice is a person’s response to a problem such as one posed by Hick’s law. When applied, this principle reduces the choices a site visitor needs to make. This then makes them feel less stressed or anxious. This can then help the visitor to feel more confidence and satisfaction with their purchases.
In other words, the website and the company feel more credible and trustworthy by presenting a site visitor with fewer choices.
13). Miller’s Law
Miller’s Law, also called the Cognitive Load Theory, applies to memory capacity. Most people are able to memorise about seven items at one time.
To apply this principle, reduce the options and content to help site users to focus and make decisions.
Feedback is the principle of learning; this has a huge part in interaction design. Feedback is how designers let site users they’ve made progress toward a goal (or achieved it).
This principle can be used to help visitors learn how the website responds to their actions. This, in turn, makes them feel more confident when using the site. It also helps them to work on the site faster.
15). Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation is an external motivation. This principle can be used to assist users to complete certain tasks online.
Here, the designer builds in certain rewards that are obvious and encourage the site visitor.
Summing It Up
If you’d like to build better websites, then using these design principles is the place to start. Working with the principles helps you better identify with the site user and how they perceive the site.
When you understand the principles, you’ll be well on the way to creating beautiful sites that create the right response from site visitors every time.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.