In Part One of the Digital Psychology 101 strategy guide, we introduced the importance of taking psychology into account when designing a digital experience, as well as touched upon brand psychology, and how it can influence a buyer’s decision making. In Part Two, we touch upon design psychology, its effects on aesthetic design and layout, and how it can promote, influence, and even manipulate user decisions.

Design Psychology

52% of customers won’t return to a store if they dislike the aesthetic. The same is true for your website. Even if you’re not designing the site yourself, you should evaluate your website’s design to connect with humans, first and foremost.

I have a defined visual “customer identity” that defines my customer group: yes or no?

The Psychology: Identity should be communicated visually. People construct their own identities and it is manifested in the brands they choose. Researchers Jennifer Edson Escalas and James R. Bettman found that college students tended to have positive associations with brands that reflected images that were consistent with their own identity, such as conservative, hippy, or athletic.

My pages present text in an F shape and are easily scanned by users in a Z shape: yes or no?

The Psychology: Based on user studies, your essential information should be placed in the top left, middle and bottom right of your pages. Users should be able to scan the page’s content in a Z shape (starting at the top-left corner of the Z) and gain the information they’re seeking.


User Studies Graph

I’m strategically using space and visual breaks to make the design feel more open and to direct the user’s attention to important content: yes or no?

The Psychology: Minimalism is the best way to draw attention to what’s most important. American attention spans have dropped over 40% since 2000 and minimalism is the best way to keep them focused on what’s important. Consciously avoid and eliminate unnecessary extras to help your users achieve their goals. Be sure to use negative space, breaks, and open space to guide your users.

I’ve maintained consistency across my design to increase the user’s confidence in their navigation and goals: yes or no?

The Psychology: When faced with uncertainty, we prefer options that are consistent with our beliefs and past behavior. Visual consistency will reinforce trust between your users and your user interface.

I’m strategically using patterns to trigger pleasure sensors in the brain: yes or no?

The Psychology: Our brains actually reward us for picking up patterns and acquiring knowledge of new skill systems. Use aesthetic and layout patterns to make your experience more consistent, intuitive, and enjoyable.

I’m using color contrast to strategically guide users to the most important content: yes or no?

The Psychology: While Digital Psychology has not found a color that converts better than others, we do know this; the color that stands out is the color that people notice. Consider implementing an A/B testing initiative if you are uncertain which colors are most effective at influencing user behavior.

I’ve considered the psychological meaning of my color choice: yes or no?

The Psychology: The meanings that people and cultures attach to color are of course highly subjective; with that being said, color use and selection is especially important in brand identity. Think of colors and what they mean to you and the people around you. The odds are good that your users and customers will have similar viewpoints.

I’ve considered the effect of vibrancy on my users: yes or no?

The Psychology: Bright colors commonly make users feel more energetic and engaged, and as a result can better evoke a response or reaction.

I’m emotionally connecting to users by using real people with real faces: yes or no?

The Psychology: “Facial Area” tells us that our visual cortex is activated and excited at the opportunity to decode the emotional information found in someone’s facial expression. Showing real people with real expressions and emotions actually forms a greater connection with the user. This is known as the “human element” or “human connection.” All else being equal, consider including a humanistic element within your design.

I have chosen fonts that are aligned with my brand personality: yes or no?

The Psychology: Certain font families and groups subliminally communicate different attributes. This infographic demonstrates this principle. Are your corporate fonts an accurate reflection of your corporate ideals and philosophies? If not, you could be sending mixed signals to your customers.

Stay Tuned for More

In Part Three of Digital Psychology 101: Your Strategy Guide to the Digital Frontier, we’ll be looking at marketing psychology and how it can affect buyers’ decision making. Be sure to bookmark our Blog for future installments of this series and feel free to download the entire four-part series in our Resources library.