How Web Designers Get Inside Your Head - Known Design Co

How Web Designers Get Inside Your Head

August 2, 2021

How to make your website design better with neuroscience

What if there was a scientific way to target the hearts and minds of your website visitors? Read on, fellow travellers, read on.

This article deals with tapping into the decision making part of the brain to give visitors that warm and fuzzy feeling, while you keep them clicking until their money lands in your bank account.

(Actually, the article is about connecting at a deeper emotional and intellectual level. But, the money angle also sounds good. Right?)

Less is more
Everybody wants to choose what they like best. It’s called freedom. And yet, how free are we really?

Neuroscientists ran the following experiment. They set up two tables for selling jam. Table 1 had 24 jars of jam and Table 2 had a meagre 6 jars of jam.

  • Table 1:  60% of passersby stopped to look, but only 3% bought jam.
  • Table 2:  40% of passersby stopped to look, but 30% bought jam.

The experiment demonstrates that greater choice attracts more attention. However — and this is the strange bit — reduced options lead to 10 times higher conversion rate.

Here is how  this impacts website design: Attract attention with variety and novelty. But, guide visitors along a sales funnel that drastically reduces their options, making it easier for them to choose.

Working your short-term memory
Humans can store around 5 to 7 items in their working memory. If you bombard someone with 8 facts, one or more will be lost. Interestingly, we tend to hold on to the first one we encountered, and almost always the last one too. We lose the info in the middle.

What does this mean for website design?

Simple: the most important facts, like navigation cues and call-to-actions, must be placed at the beginning and the end.

Remembering the first info is called the effect of primacy. Remembering the last info is called the effect of recency. Forgetting the middle a fact of…I forgot the word!

Known unknowns and unknown unknowns
Everyone who comes to your website comes with a pre-loaded set of information. But, the point of the website is to load some new information into the mind of the visitor. Nothing nefarious. We are not talking about CIA mind control techniques. Actually, we are, but that is beside the point.

The visitor’s existing information is termed Current Knowledge. The information you want them to take away is termed Target Knowledge. The difference between Current and Target Knowledge is termed the Knowledge Gap.

But what does this all mean? Well, it has two clear implications for website design and layout.

The first is that you must keep your website familiar. Meaning, it must navigate like 90% of other websites out there. Visitors don’t want to be “wowed” by strange layouts. So:

  • Don’t align all text to the right.
  • Always put the logo at the top left.
  • “Contact us” should be the last link on the navigation menu.

Here’s looking at you kid
Visual cues are an interesting way of directing people’s attention. It is a little known fact, but the white part of a human’s eye makes it impossible to hide what we are looking at. And others will follow our gaze. For instance: use this to direct attention to a heading you want highlighted by having a picture of a baby staring right at it.

What do you know?
Embracing neuro-marketing concepts will give your web design the performance edge right from the word GO. But, will anyone ever know what goes into it?

We’re here to help you achieve your long term website goals and celebrate your success with you. Get in touch and we’ll suggest the best approach for your brand.