For those that know little or care little about web design, it is probable that if asked what a great web design should have, their answer will contain nothing other than “look great”. Of course, every web design should look great, but there is much more to it than that because every web design should have one or more objectives to achieve.
It might be that a website’s primary purpose is to generate email subscribers. Another website could exist to showcase products. The next website’s main priority could be to get prospects to fill out a quotation request. On eCommerce websites, the main task is to sell products via product sales and checkout pages.
You can take those four and probably add another 100 different objectives that a website might have, and it is the web design that is going to play the biggest role in determining whether those objectives are met or not.
You may have spotted from what you have read thus far that almost all the objectives revolve around the person who is visiting the website taking some form of action. It is the user taking action to enter their email address, make a telephone call, fill out a form, or make a purchase. For them to do so, the website, and in particular, the web design elements within it must have had the effect of persuading that visitor to act in a specific way.
Now, this is not a psychology lesson, but it will serve you well if you come to appreciate that the journey from a person landing on a website through to them deciding to follow a call to action on that website happens for a reason. It happens because what they have seen, heard, or read, has persuaded them to do so. The question is, why and how did the website persuade them?
It may have done so using many persuasion techniques, but they all rely on some aspect of human behaviour and the more you understand them, the more effective your web design will be. Here are 5 human behaviours and thought patterns which your web design should focus on.
Priming: There is a principle in selling and persuasion that involves getting someone to say “Yes” to something insignificant so that they get in the habit of saying yes, all the way through to saying yes to the main question. Prime your visitors by getting them to say “Yes” to a free download, to a choice of two options, to commenting on blog posts or sharing your website on social media.
Scarcity: Human psychology has an in-built fear of losing out on something which is why the use of scarcity is, ironically, abundant in marketing, and it should be in web design too. Badges that alert visitors to ‘Only for the first 50 customers’ and timers counting down to the end of a promotion spark the fear of missing out and gets people to take action.
Reciprocity: Ever heard the phrase, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”? Well, that is a perfect example of reciprocity, where doing something to help another obliges them to help you. Alerting visitors to a free consultation, free quote, or free download places in their mind a sense that they owe you a favour in return which seeds their loyalty to you rather than a competitor.
Anchoring: Nothing to do with cruise ships but instead a way of implanting a positive idea in someone’s mind and getting them to associate it with your business. Price conditioning is one way it is done whereby your business is seen as the one associated with the best value for money.
Social Proof: People online use social proof to justify their decisions which is why including case studies, testimonials, reviews, and awards within your website gives you an advantage over websites that do not.