Psychology Plays a BIG Role in Web Design and Interactive Marketing

March 1, 2012

¬†As a marketer, it’s always difficult to figure out the complex puzzle of why an audience does or doesn’t take the action you expect them to. Consumer behavior has always been a mystery, so it makes complete sense to bring it all back to the science of the human brain.

Just recently, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, psychologist and UX/design author, breakdown the some basic information that every interactive marketer needs to know about people: how they respond, what makes them click, what attracts them and how to keep them coming back. With all the components involved in web design and marketing campaigns, these points should always be considered when building a creative strategy.

Believe it or not, we have 40,000,000 sensory inputs to our brains every second, and yet we’re only aware of 40 of them. So, that means unconsciously, we aren’t completely aware of what grabs or causes us to take an action. For instance, beauty is one of those unconscious sensory inputs; we make a split-second decision on whether or not we find something catchy or attractive. Dr. Weinschenk shared research she recently discovered in which people were shown websites for just a fraction of a second and then told to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. They then were shown the same websites with more time to give a 1 to 10 rating. The research showed that people rated the website about the same whether they saw it for a split-second or they were given more time to evaluate its beauty.

So, what are some ways to grab a web visitor’s attention during that split second? Here are some key takeaways:

  • Beauty – it’s in the eye of the unconscious. As mentioned above, a design should be orderly and have clear design in order to appeal to a viewer. Secondly, it should be expressive, creative and original with a little unpredictability. People can only remember or process about 3 to 4 things at time, so ask yourself, what do you want them to take away from their site visit?
  • Stories – People’s brains respond best to story formats. That’s great news for content marketers. When people read a story, they become emotionally attached and that effect causes them to remember the connection with the site they got the information from.
  • Humanize – web users need to feel like there’s a human behind the site, especially if they’re taking an action like filling out a form or placing an order. They unconsciously expect the process to follow human interaction rules and for everything to make sense. It’s easy for them to click out or give up if it’s complicated and unlike a typical human interaction.
  • Content – what you have on your site is your currency. Including engaging content helps build relationships with your customers and represent your brand. It’s important to always ask yourself, what kind of interactions am I having through this content? Again, people like stories and have a better emotional response to this type of format.

My main takeaway from the presentation was how important it is to always keep in mind the human that will be using your website. And, that each brain works differently and may not think the same way as a web designer. It’s important to really research the target audience and invest in its content and design.

I’m a frequent online shopper, but sometimes I’m a little leery about the sites that don’t provide many details or specifics about the products. A photo alone doesn’t really sell me, especially if I’m paying for shipping. Thorough descriptions and reviews really help me understand more about the products, which influence my decision to buy. What are some websites you enjoy visiting and why?

March 1, 2012

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