The Psychology of Web Design

This is a summary post of an article read from Website Magazine (www.websitemagazine.com) February 2009

When building a web presence one tends to forget that the overall strategy of this medium is to capture and direct your visitors to an organized and well-crafted experience.  Usually, folks don’t stumble across your site as they would an ad in a newspaper or on television.  They are actually taking the time to go to your site and open the door for a visit.  It is your job to make that visit both pleasant for the user and productive for you whether it is to share, sell or persuade.  In his article The Psychology of Web Design, Peter Prestipino touches on some of the major elements of good design that offer both the designer and clients some room to share in the crafting of a compelling web presence.

Schools of thought

  1. Listen to and monitor the actions and feedback of your customers
  2. As a designer, your should dictate best practices

The designers’ job is to build a website to fulfill the objectives of the client which meets\parallels the existing brand value.

Find a balance between properly satisfying needs of the brand and creating an effective web presence (i.e., one that drives customers to take specific actions, feel certain emotions and creates certain thoughts).

Express the objectives of the website though layout, form, color and theme.  Address the psychology of design from the perspective of purpose, balance and branding.

Being able to romanticize the experience while remaining in line with fundamental artistry achieves a certain Mastery of design psychology and provides a website with dramatically better odds of success.

Use URL shortening to drive traffic to specific landing pages based upon the target being captured from source.  Make a strong first impression regardless of the drop-off point.

Purpose

How much do individual pages relate to the overall purpose of the site and in-turn the customer.

What is the aim of the site?

  1. Straying too far from the core mission of the site can be detrimental.
  2. Evaluate the use of all widgets and elements of a site as to their distracting aspect.
  3. Question whether stuff on the site is distracting visitors from taking actions we really want the to take

Present navigational queues as a primary purpose of a page.

  1. Visitors are coming to the site to search for something to see, read, hear or purchase.
  2. Use word press plug-ins to help user s find content (popular, recent, relevant, etc.)
  3. The result is More Interaction!!!

White Space

Use white space to achieve a balance and provide a sense of elegance through simplicity and focuses the readers eye on a desired part of the page.

  • It provides a sense of breathing room for the viewer.

Presentation

The presentation of your content has a major impact on how it is consumed.

  • People usually don’t react well to rooms full of clutter.  When they feel spatially constricted, they usually look for a way out.
  • Use heat maps to track where visitors are going on your site (e.g., www.labsmedia.com/clickheat or www.crazyegg.com).
  • Layout and structure of content should address the specifics of influencing how viewers approach, consume, and act on the page.
  • Each pages should be designed to illicit a specific primary action.

Branding

Make and effort to explain the essence of your own brand; the most notable brands convey a certain cultural significance, shared life style and most importantly attitude.

Those with the ability to differentiate their brand can rise above the noise and create an enterprise of significant consequence.

  • Logos communicate the essence of an organization
  • Colors and design weigh heavily as consistent elements throughout the brand.
  • Strike a balance between design principles, client preferences and trial-and-error tests based on end user analytics data.
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