Regardless if it’s purpose is e-commerce or a blog, User Experience is a big part of any website. If your site’s visitors are having a poor experience, they won’t want to stay on your site and therefore won’t buy your product or service let alone remain on your pages long enough to read a blog. As web designers in any way, we need to remain conscious of the types of experiences we are providing on our sites to our potential audience.
One aspect of web design as well as user experience design that has always fascinated me is the psychology behind it. What do your users think and why? What are their predicted behaviors based on past experiences? How do those influence how users navigate through your site, or expect to navigate through it? While doing a bit of digging on these questions, I came across some pretty interesting articles that speak to some of these exact questions, as well as solidify some assumed notions.
Reading minds: the psychology behind UX design by web designer depot shares some great insights behind a users habits. First, author Matt Banner points out that a user will essentially take the path of least resistance to accomplish their goals on your website. This goes from anything from navigating your site to product details – if it takes too long for a user to find what they’re looking for, you you provide too much information initially, they will abandon the task. As Banner puts it, ” Don’t waste the time or energy of your users. Provide them with clear and concise pathways through your website.”
Next, Banner brings up the importance of what he dubs ‘Social Proof’. We should never underestimate the power of user reviews, behavioral social cues (such as ‘customers that viewed this item also bought…’ type suggestions seen on Amazon), and like minded opinions.
Finally, the article discusses the visual and unconscious cues and processing that visitors utilize to process the information on your site. Everything from the colors used to the messages any images on your site convey can speak volumes – subconsciously to your visitors. Also, the fonts chosen, the hierarchy different font size and weight imply, as well as the way elements are grouped can each play a part into how a user interprets your webpages.
Banner then pulls the psychology behind what and how users experience your website into three basic elements – motivation, ability and trigger, based off of the Fogg Behavior Model. Basically, a user is motivated to your site with a goal in mind, designers need to provide users with the necessary information and tools to give them the ability to achieve those goals, and in the end, trigger new behavior.
This is definitely not the end-all-be-all of user experience psychology or design – but it is absolutely a great starting point to delve into some solid concepts and to explore further the depths and reach that user experience can provide.