The Psychology of Good Web Design

February 3, 2017 | 0 comments

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If good web design rules and best practices are the skeleton of a good website, the psychology behind it is the brains of the operation. A website attracts and entices consumers with more than just the latest technological trends – it addresses wants and needs based on rules of human psychology. Website designers and developers must grasp the critical role of the human mind if they want to create a good web design that visitors will respond to on a deeper level. They must learn the psychology of web design.

Colors Speak Louder Than Words

The human brain responds dramatically to color. Several studies show that the colors of a brand’s logo, advertising, and website content do have an effect on visitor impact and conversion rates. Color alone has the power to determine whether a person is attracted to a brand’s message. People recognize color before they absorb anything else. That means that the colors of a website are the first thing a visitor sees.

Brands can use this knowledge and an understanding of the basic psychology of colors to convey a message using nothing but color. The McDonald’s logo, for example, is bright red and yellow. Red triggers passionate feelings akin to love, while yellow is a warm, happy color that represents joy. Furthermore, studies show that the color red triggers the appetite. The McDonald’s brand manager clearly knew what he or she was doing. The color of a website’s background, text, and images is vitally important to how visitors perceive the company as a whole.

White Space Creates a Happy Place

In the early days of cyberspace, websites were crammed with content – so much content that visitors had a difficult time seeing the information they were trying to find. Nowadays, web designers know better. They use ample white space in and around text and graphics to make the page look less cluttered. While designers know how to use white space, they may not know the psychology behind why.

Cramped text can engender feelings of claustrophobia, anxiety, and stress. Pages loaded with content and zero white space are overwhelming and unpleasant, immediately making the visitor want to click away. Clever use of white space makes it possible to inform the reader without being overbearing. White space helps a visitor find information quickly and easily and provides a welcoming, happy place to stay and browse for a while. It triggers a positive psychological reaction instead of a negative one. That is good web design.

Typography Conveys Emotion

Typography is a website design element that’s practically invisible when done correctly but sharply noticeable when done incorrectly. You may not think that you pay much attention to the typeface of a website’s headers and paragraph content, but the opposite is true. Typography is a power psychological conveyor of feelings and emotions. It can show anger, excitement, trepidation, joy, and intrigue. Visitors connect fonts like Times New Roman to professionalism, serious topics, and scholars. People perceive fonts like Helvetica as clean and modern.

There are tens of thousands of fonts available to today’s website designers. With this many options, it’s up to the design team to understand the psychology of typography before making a decision. The correct typography for a site will depend on the website’s purpose and the company’s goals. If the company mainly delivers news, for example, a stately serif font is more appropriate. A blog for stay-at-home moms will have more leeway to use sans-serif fonts.

These are just a few of the many psychological elements that can change the way visitors interact with your brand. The psychology of good web design is a very real thing that affects every website. Make sure to understand basic psychological theories before mapping out your next website.

Justin Arcara
Justin Arcara
Justin is an entrepreneur, web developer, and the founder of Arca Interactive that specializes in website design. Arca Interactive builds high-performing, custom websites for local and national brands.

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