Psychology in Web Design: Exploring Hidden Influences on Users’ Decision-Making

— May 15, 2019

Psychology in Web Design: Exploring Hidden Influences on Users’ Decision-Making

Good design is something obvious. Great design is something almost transparent. Great web design can help build trust with users and motivate them to take your preferred course of actions and create profitable conversions. It’s not something about the influence on somebody’s will, it’s just about design that doesn’t make people overloaded, but rather engages them and helps them decide. From layouts and typeface to colors and CTAs – each detail matters and plays an important role in user engagement.

The digital landscape is getting more crowded. To create a website design which stands out on top of others is definitely a challenge. At the same time, it has become more difficult to impact the user decision-making process, since people are already used to filter external factors influencing their decisions on the web. However, there are things that aren’t subject to change.

Without further ado, we share with you the results of our web design research and experience of a few UI/UX design and web development companies. Find here 5 handy tips on web design psychology that will help you improve user experience and start a quality interaction with prospective customers.

Use emotion psychology principles

In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Therefore, when your design evokes user emotions, it consequently influences user actions and decisions too.

People try to take control of their emotions, to make the right decisions driven by the voice of common sense. However… sometimes we let emotions impact our decisions. Just think of the situation when you’ve made a spontaneous purchase driven by emotions evoked by a nice product design or a desire to follow the mainstream. It’s a simple algorithm, however, it still works.

Psychology in Web Design: Exploring Hidden Influences on Users’ Decision-Making

We don’t say emotions are a good thing, but they are obviously a driver of decisions. Emotions are a strong motivator that guides human actions. Designers with a deep understanding of emotion psychology have this weapon and know how to create a user-centered design that will help people interact with a company and its product more harmoniously.

A well-balanced combination of colors and fonts is an effective tool in engaging and influencing users. Every color has its own meaning, each evokes a certain emotion rooted deep in the human subconscious.

You have probably seen the homepages of Facebook and PayPal. Both of them used shades of blue. Have you thought that’s a coincidence? According to the psychology of color, blue inspires trustworthiness.

Soothing and eye-appealing colors help to build trust with the website visitors. The red color is the wrong option for a brand cultivating organic products, however, it still is the right choice for a dating app landing page. Your website’s color scheme can impact accessibility and usability. If you create navigation tabs and dropdown menus using unnoticeable colors, it’s just as bad as not having them at all.

Website blues and hues scheme should be in sync with business goals. Try to make your design resonate with the emotions of your target audience.

Space a user. Learn how to use “white space” smartly

Psychology in Web Design: Exploring Hidden Influences on Users’ Decision-Making

White space is the areas on the web page with no content r other elements that need user’s attention. Better not to underestimate the power of the white space in web design. Sometimes, the absence of something is a better option. White space gives users the opportunity to relax their eyes and mind, and stop the cognitive process for a short while. Usually, the white space is located in the margins and around elements on the web page.

Imagine, you enter a site where every inch is taken up by text, graphics, blinking details, etc. You’ll definitely feel it like chaos distracting you from the purpose of why you’re visiting this website. The opportunity to take a visual break is very important for user experience.

Making things simple and smartly using white space on the website you show visitors that you don’t wanna waste their time, but take their attention only to the most important things.

Keep pattern consistency. Don’t reinvent a wheel

We are sensitive to perceiving certain visual patterns, especially when it comes to web design. People used to notice the repeating web patterns from background colors to page layouts. We also used to see some website elements such as ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Home’ buttons in certain locations on the website. And imagine what irritation users may experience if they can’t find these buttons on their usual places.

Usually, we strive to go out of some limitations and behavior patterns. However, sometimes the website is not the right place for doing it. Did you know about ‘Z’ pattern? Scanning a web page visitors used to find a logo in the top left corner. Any alteration in these basic web patterns may cause discomfort for a user and make difficult to focus on the initial goal.

Designer’s job is to create something new to maintain the feel of the brand and, at the same time, not to tweak with these basics.

Convey the tones of emotions and feelings through typography

If you say that typography is the whole science it’ll definitely be true. Each typeface has its own meaning and specific use.

San Serif or Time New Roman fonts are often used by news websites. Why? That’s simpler than seems. These are the most traditional fonts, consequently, they convey a feeling of tradition, authority, and professionalism proved by the years. These news websites want to create a feeling that they know what they’re talking about and what you’re reading is true and important.

Psychology in Web Design: Exploring Hidden Influences on Users’ Decision-Making

Some magazines use also Helvetica fonts that are more informal, clean, and have a bit more modern feeling.

Pay special attention to the way a type looks on the web page. The space between the lines and letters should be evaluated as well. When you put lots of white space between the lines, the copy seems to be airier and easier to read. While little leading gives a crowded feeling and is more difficult for reading.

Design to establish trust

It should be the first goal that a designer should pursue. If you want to get users to act and behave in your preferred way, you should build trust to your website, and consequently, to your company. We should admit, that’s the age of digital scams, and to build trust becomes more difficult.

Make sure, you’re not doing any forceful overlays on your website. Don’t ask people for an email address right after they have entered a website. Just imagine a feeling when somebody wants to get your data before you get acquainted and solved your problem. Now it feels not so pleasant as it seemed to be, right?

You need only a few seconds to make a user take easy and start building the trust bridge with a company when they start interacting with a website.

There is not another chance for the first impression. Make sure your website design gives people what they expect and doesn’t distract from the initial purpose.


Webdesigner’s mission is noble and challenging. It is in creating the intuitively understood and visually stunning digital experience able to help a company harmoniously interact with its target audience. To learn web design psychology and preferences of your target audience is as important for business as to research product user experience with the help of social media.

To create the memorable web design it’s obligatory to add a not of something wild and unexpected. However, to make your design decisions driven by instincts is not the best idea. Try to understand the psychology of your design choices when producing a design. Learning the basics in some key areas of design psychology will help you understand and even further help produce great content and manage your web design more effectively.

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Author: Dana Kachan

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