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This is a guest post by James L.
Understanding your users’ psychology and applying psychological theory to your web design can help build a compelling user experience and even induce addictive behavior patterns. The Fogg Behavior Model states that motivation is a key factor behind how a user behaves. Knowing why a user behaves in a certain way will help you design your site to target these users. Let’s look at four tips that won’t negatively influence your users’ motivation and will keep them coming back in the future.
1) Allow Your Users Enough Breathing Room
Psychological research has shown that when we read, we tend to read in an “F” formation. Simply, we are drawn to the left side of the page. Keeping this in mind, text should ideally be on the left side of the web page, as readers’ eyes naturally gravitate to this side already. Even though your users’ attention is naturally forced in a certain direction, it is important not to overwhelm users with information. Too much text will affect your users’ motivation to stay on your site; too much text is too much effort. In order not to overwhelm your users with information, be sure to keep it simple and properly balance white space with the other elements that your site needs.
2) Provide Your Users with Familiarity, Consistency and Relevancy
Similar to the idea of not exerting your users, is to important ensure that users are comfortable on your site. According to the folks at iPage Training, your text and images need to closely reflect exactly what kind of content your site promotes. Any abstract tends to induce confusion, which takes effort to decipher, which will reduce the users’ motivation to stay on (or return to) your site. Your design should match your site’s main message, making your site a trigger for user motivation and behavior.
3) Build and Highlight Your Website’s Social Proof
Maybe you joined Facebook because all your friends already had accounts. Or maybe your sister chose to shop online because her boyfriend did. That’s social proof. We find out other people are doing something, we assume it is the “correct” behavior, and then we do it too. People learn from others’ actions, and this neatly transfers to the Internet world too. To get more users, you need to get more people talking about your site. You may build and highlight your site’s social proof by generating discussion on different social media sites, or maybe you’ll get a review in a credible magazine.
4) Ensure Your Website Builds Trust with the Users
Finally, it’s important to understand how your users think, and therefore, to know who your users are. For example, some Internet users feel uncomfortable providing websites with lots of personal information about themselves; asking this kind of user lots of questions about themselves will not build trust. Make sure your site puts your users at ease, which will help increase sign ups or sales. If your target audience is new to the digital world, visual rapport may help the site feel more personable. The battle for consumer attention is far from new, yet knowing how to attract user attention – and keep user attention – in the Internet medium requires different techniques from more traditional media.
Understanding how your users behave and knowing what motivates your users to behave in a certain way can help you design a website that will provide them with the ultimate user experience.
What do you think of these 4 psychology-derived web design tips? Got any others to share?