The Psychology of Web Design

by Dan

A website is far more than a series of pages on the Internet that help you to tell people about your company, it helps you to market the brand and your range of products or services and provides what is often the first impression your potential customers get of you and your company, which, as we all know, is what counts.

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With the majority of brands now based on the web rather than in physical stores, and the continuing development of international commerce – thanks to the internet – it’s now more important than ever to have a website that stands out from the crowd in what is becoming an increasingly saturated market. A great site isn’t just one that performs well in terms of the number of people who visit or the number of sales you make, there are a variety of factors involved in transforming a website from a series of pages that make little or no impression, into one that turns you into a potential market leader.

Unfortunately there is no style guide for creating the perfect website. Each is viewed as good or bad by the individual logging on and that is why so many employ professional agencies to help them to create what’s best for them, providing what they think the public need to find or engage with in order to achieve their own goals. Website design specialists like Visor Media are often tasked with creating bespoke websites which all have different goals depending on the customer and their industry.

A firm trying to sell products, for example, would have completely different aims for their site than one offering information and guidance, for instance. In many cases it’s all about psychological factors – from the customer’s viewpoint anyway. Different factors affect a person’s mood and impulses, as we all know from rainy days and sunny days for instance – we’re usually in a better frame of mind when the sun is shining. The same is true when we’re surfing the web as different colours often make our minds work differently.

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Cooler colours like blue and green make a site look relaxed and also professional, which often encourages customers to buy from them as opposed to a site that uses much harsher colours like yellow or red which have been proven to give a stressful feel despite giving off the warmth. People talk about ‘white space’ being bad, and that’s often because it can make a site look empty, but also because it can feel cold and uninviting.

While we’re talking about space, this is another key factor in the performance of a website and something that professional designers have to work both with, and around. If there is too much space with the site taking on a minimalist design, the site can look contemporary – but also empty and unprofessional. If it is filled with too much information or too many products all crammed in together it can look cramped and overwhelming making it difficult for the visitor to find what they’re looking for. In an ecommerce sense, this is bad for business because if they can’t find a product, they’ll shop somewhere else and you miss out on your sale no matter how small.

Possibly the most important psychological influencer in creating a successful website, however, is the content on the site. That is what people read and engage with from the moment they click onto the page until they leave – either because they’re put off or because they’re finished with their purchase. Keeping the content concise and easy-to-read is essential. If there is just block after block of text, readers will be left with too much information to consume in one go; while having little or no detail can make it look like it isn’t trying to give the detail the viewer might be looking for so they click away and go elsewhere.

The modern site needs to ensure that it achieves the perfect blend of informative content, while keeping it brief and to the point because you also have the factor that many viewers will be coming from mobile devices while out shopping, commuting or on the move and they need the detail quickly – they haven’t got the time to read and read like they may once have done.

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