Psychology has been studied for over a century, and more recently the study between psychology and consumer behavior has rapidly evolved. While the idea of studying consumers and buyer behavior is certainly nothing new, the idea of how website design and website usability affects users’ feelings and ultimately their actions, is at least, relatively new.
If we agree that the World Wide Web officially kicked off in 1993 with the arrival of the first graphic web browser, Mosaic, that puts the age of the web at roughly 20 years, as of 2013. While we all stumbled around the Web for the first few years, I think it’s safe to say that for the last 10 years or so – designers and marketers have made great strides in dialing in what makes for a “good” user experience and ultimately increases the likelihood that your website visitors will take the actions you are hoping for – filling out a lead generation form, purchasing a product or sharing your content……
With the idea that design, content and site architecture can positively or adversely affect your sites’ users, here’s an overview of a few of the things that should be considered for your website.
Overall Website Usability
Elements to consider for website usability can include:
- Clear and consistent main and sub navigation
- Clean and well structured content areas
- Callouts throughout the site, which take into consideration the related content where callouts appear
- Obvious forms of contact or conversion
- Well designed graphical elements which lead users to the content THEY are seeking
Website usability is by far the most important aspect of website design and development. The interface design alone can cause the user an array of emotions that range anywhere from feeling calm and collected, to feeling angry and frustrated.
If a website is easy to use, a person is more likely to enjoy their experience with the site and become a return visitor or share the site with others. However if a site is confusing, difficult to use or loads slowly – it will most likely have the opposite effect and your potential customers will be more likely to hit the “back button” and visit a different site.
Your Website Must Build Trust
When addressing trust, consider these ideas:
- Overall presentation and design of the website’s look and feel
- Written content – spelling and grammar
- Functionality – no broken links, fast loading pages, secured sensitive materials
- Clear and simple forms of contact
Building trust is huge in terms of the psychology of your users. From the point your visitors enter your site, which is NOT always the home page, the design, color choices and overall presentation should work together to put site users at ease. Not only will a well-designed, polished website increase your brandability but it will also help to increase conversions at your website.
When considering trustworthiness, remember that design and a shiny logo are only part of the equation. The functionality of your site says just as much about your organization as does the design. If there are broken links, spotty functionality or unsecured shopping carts – the best looking site in the world still won’t retain customers. Remember, at every step of the game, the back button is only a click away.
Visual Brand Consistency
A few brand consistency elements to pay attention to are:
- Adherence to corporate style guides
- Logo usage, placement and white space rules
- Font usage and consistency
- Color selection and conversion from PMS to web
- The overall tone and voice of content
Brand consistency is extremely valuable to a company; however, many designers tend to forget this critical idea when designing websites. Brand consistency includes having all parts of your company’s visual personality and voice remain solid and well-represented across different media, including your website.
Graphic Design & Color Usage
The graphics used on the site play an key role in how site users feel. Always use clear, high quality images to send a message to users. The graphics on the page need to complement the site and give the user a sense of clarity. The last thing you want to do is have a site with well-written material next to an ambiguous image that completely throws the user off – leaving them questioning your intent.
Relating to website design, color usage and theory also play an important part. Although it may be obvious to some, a lot of designers do not understand the different emotions certain colors can trigger.
When designing a website, keep a few of these in mind:
- Black edgy & mysterious
- Gray neutral
- Brown wholesome & natural
- Blue calm & cool
- Green nature and health
- Red passionate & aggressive
- Orange positive & cheerful
- Yellow bright & happy
- White pure & innocent
While we’ve only scratched the surface here, I hope these ideas get you thinking about how your current or next website might effect how your users feel and act. If you’re in question of the message you’re currently sending your customers, give this Orlando web design and marketing agency a shout. We’d love to sit down with you and review your current website and branding!
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