Design to Engage: Factors that Impact User Experience & Behavior
April 19, 2017
Website design is all about making the correct choices. Each and every detail you use to design a website influences the brand message you are trying to convey. Therefore designing is most effective when it is combined with the user psychology.
Gaining knowledge of psychological principles will help you design a more intuitive and creative website. To acquire this basic knowledge of the relation of psychology and designing, you need not study tons of books, you just need to brush up some of the theories, which will help you gain the ultimate goal.
Applying the following theories to your web design, you can increase the usability of a website.
Thousands of things happen around you every day, do you think you notice everything?
Surprisingly, we only notice the things we want to notice and often miss things which happen right in front of us. This theory is known as the selective disregard theory.
If you are walking down a busy street, you notice millions of things around you. If you are searching for a particular street, then your attention will be diverted towards sign boards.
Though there are many things that catch your attention yet your mind is clever so it filters them.
The best example of selective disregard is banner blindness.
Mostly we have this tendency to follow trending patterns without digging up things like this (which should be avoided in most cases); it’s ultimately the applicability of a pattern that ought to be followed. So for those of you who haven’t heard this term, banner blindness is when users are habitual of ignoring advertisements online. If asked after five minutes if the website they visited had an advertisement or not, mostly they fail to recall.
The extreme form of selective disregard is change blindness. A state when the brain misses out obvious changes. The human brain works in a surprising way; it does a lot of things to conserve the energy.
Mostly it assumes that nothing has changed unless it is clearly indicated.
For a web designer, change blindness is a thorn. They have to keep it in mind if they are making changes on a particular page; they have to make it obvious.
The small GIFs and flashing content are not enough to leave an impact on the users.
Image Source: www.computer.org
These two pictures are a perfect example of change blindness. Are you able to differentiate between the two pictures. No! the top left window is missing in the second image. This proves that users usually don’t notice the obvious/little changes. So a designer has to make sure while redesigning a website that whatever changes are made, they are obvious or else website design can be monotonous.
Dual coding theory
According to this theory, people tend to remember and stay longer when a particular text is presented with both verbal and image stimuli. According to research by business2community, a human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes text.
So when imagery and verbal communication is combined to send out a particular message, a maximum level of retention is achieved. Instead of just designing a web page and placing the content, a web designer ought to look into the design of the content too. It depends on individual needs whether they add images, infographics, diagrams, videos to engage the audience.
Image Source: www.3.7designs.co
Which of the two sections shown above is easier to read and process?
If you look both closely, the first looks weaker in grabbing the attention of the user while the second part quickly grabs it and is easy for users to retain the information.
People tends to be attracted towards the human face. The best pattern which catches the attention is facial recognition.
There are two reasons associated with this, first to identify another human being, second to read the facial expressions. Web designs that involve an image of other human being draws attention of the users. The expression depicted by the image influences how the user feels about the website.
A happy facial expression imparts the sense of welcome, whereas a sad facial expression depicts grief or depression. Certain emotions can impact the users, and it is essential to learn how to influence those emotions. Provoking the right emotion can increase the UX of your website.
ImageSource: www.dreamstime.com and www.webmd.com
Like mentioned in the example these pictures provoke different emotions in the users. Add images which will impact your audience.
The psychology of colors
An individual associates a particular color with important thoughts and feelings. Designers have done extensive research on human association with a particular color. For example – The color blue depicts a sense of trust, security, calmness, honesty, strength and caring.
Businesses often use the color blue to ensure a sense of trustworthiness. The best example to quote is Facebook’s blue color helps users feel a sense of privacy and security.
Isolation effect, also known as the von Restorff effect is when a particular thing stands out from the rest of the items. When you are designing a website, you want to draw your audience’s attention to a particular thing; then you have to change the font, color or design to make it look different from the rest of the things on the same page.
Image Source: www.psychologytoday.com
When you see this picture, the red apple stands out among the other green apples. This is the Isolation effect. So when planning the design of a website, make sure to change the color or size of the text or design that you want your audience to notice.
The best way to improve the design of your website is by having an insight about the audience you are designing it for. Learning the psychological theories by heart is a difficult task and can only be done over a period of time. For now, you can understand some theories which will help you create a powerful design for a target specific audience. The above-listed theories will help you gain a perspective of how psychology has a significant role to play in designing.