Web Design Psychology Tips

Web Design Psychology Tips

We have some web design psychology tips to help enhance your design knowledge. You may produce beautiful and brilliant websites, but sometimes even the best design can simply not appeal to users due to overlooking subconscious factors. For example, having a good grasp of layout and colour means users will have an easier time navigating your site. Knowing some of these visible and invisible elements can really enhance your design and help to make it all the more engaging.

Choice & Simplicity

Keeping it simple leads to less confusion for the user. A Psychological study carried out in 2000 tested shopper’s reaction to two decision-making situations. In one setup, shoppers were presented with a table presenting 24 flavours of jam. In the second setup, the table only had 6 varieties available. The table with less choice made more sales. The conclusion of the study was that too much choice can be overwhelming and actually made shoppers disengage from making a decision.¬†This is an important lesson in regards to web design. Forcing users to make too many decisions can make them lose interest. You can keep¬†users engaged by providing tools such as filters which they can use to streamline their experience.

Simplicity in design also helps to prevent choice overload shutdown by users. Stay focused and in control of the aims of the site. Simplicity doesn’t mean avoiding choice – it just has to be the right kind of choice. For example, try to avoid dead ends such as a lack of links at the footer of an article. Leaving the user with nowhere to go leads to the negative choice of them simply leaving the site.

Pattern, Familiarity & Layout

Humans like patterns as they are a positive stimulus. Familiarity is linked to patterns and is also a positive psychological factor. Both pattern and familiarity are therefore two important considerations when deciding layout.

Learning the basic rules of visual hierarchy in terms of spacing, type, colour, image size, negative space and placement can lead to an attractive layout which is easy to navigate. Repetition of the style you choose to implement helps to form and pattern and reinforce familiarity.

Colour & Type

Colour is a huge influence on unconscious decision-making. Understanding colour in terms of contrasting, complimenting and highlighting is basic design knowledge, however, do you know the underlying meaning of the colours you choose? Red is a colour of warning, pink activates a sweet tooth reaction in some people, and both men and women hate orange. Doing some homework on the psychological effects of certain colours to make the most impact on your target audience is highly recommended.

Type is also a design element which has psychological factors which can be overlooked. Overly-complicated types can disengage users, and mixing multiple fonts can be an assault on the senses.


Trust is of huge psychological in making a good website. If you are asking users to impart personal details, it is especially important to put their minds at ease. This can be achieved by transparent wording, easy navigation and good design of forms and further information links. Trusting users are far more likely to be returning customers and to recommend the site to others.

Interactivity & Expectation

Every interaction with your site will come with a degree of expectation. This feeds into the positive psychological feedback of pattern recognition, choice, familiarity and trust. On a basic level, users expect a website to work. If you are drawing their attention through bad design to an element that looks interactive but is not, the user’s trust can be broken.

Once you have an understanding of these important design elements, it’s time to apply them to the latest web design trends. Check out our series here:

Web Design Trends 2016 – Part One: The Design

Web Design Trends 2016 – Part Two: The Look

Web Design Trends 2016 – Part Three: The Experience

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