Your company’s website design has a huge impact on user experience. Essentially, good design = good experience. However, keep in mind that “good design” isn’t all about aesthetics. While a pleasing layout, beautiful colors, and clean, readable fonts are necessary, they aren’t all that you need. This is why you should work with a web design agency Philippines-based businesses trust because there’s so much more behind the good design than meets the eye.

information sign on shelf
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For example, there are many concepts in the field of psychology that influence how people interpret the design. How do people instinctively know which button to press without being told? How do you make buyers feel that THIS and not THAT is the best bundle out of all the products you’re offering? These and more aspects of a website user experience are affected by how the human mind works.

For your better understanding and appreciation, here are some of the most common concepts in psychology that play a role in good web design: 

Color Psychology

The concept of color psychology is one of the most familiar and most used in web design and design in general. Essentially, color psychology is the study of how the use of certain colors can evoke certain emotions and behaviors in people. In addition, the subject also delves into what influences certain perceptions. For example, a person might say that blue fruit juice tastes different from red fruit juice even if the two beverages are of the same flavor and made from the same ingredients.

In terms of web design, the use of color psychology is crucial in associating a brand with feelings and actions. A brand with yellow as a brand color can be seen as cheerful, while black can be interpreted as either elegant or authoritative.

Anchoring Bias

In simple terms, anchoring bias is a person’s tendency to fixate on the first information they receive and give it disproportionate weight in making decisions. It’s like a form of the saying “first impressions last.” That’s why it’s crucial that your website not only has a good design but also provides a good user experience. When you put your best foot forward, you will likely be perceived by consumers in a positive light even if they don’t actually know your brand yet.

You can also apply anchoring bias in layouts where you want to drive customers to a specific choice. For example, if you have three products available, you can present the most expensive one first, then the second most expensive, then the cheapest. This way, the mid-tier one will appear to be the most logical choice.

Isolation Effect

The isolation effect is also known as the Von Restorff effect. It is the principle that predicts that, when presented with similar objects, the one that provides a unique stimulus will almost always be chosen. In short, what’s different will be remembered and will often be preferred. This psychological concept can be seen in the web design of many e-commerce sites, in which the call to action (i.e., the “Buy Now” button) is the most noticeable part of the page.

Hick’s Law

Most of the time, having a lot of choices is a good thing. In web design, however, the opposite is usually the case. This is because of Hick’s Law, which states that having too many choices increases the time it takes for someone to make a decision. As a result, the experience becomes less streamlined; at times, it can be frustrating.

This is something you want to avoid, especially for e-commerce. If a customer takes too long to click that “Buy Now” button, they may eventually decide to abandon their purchase. By keeping Hick’s Law in mind, web designers and website owners can create easily navigable and aesthetically pleasing pages.

Gestalt Principles

“Gestalt” is a German word that roughly translates to “configuration.” In psychology, gestalt principles help our brain process information so that we can make sense of different parts to create a greater whole. The gestalt principles include the following:

an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

If you’ve ever taken an introductory psychology class, the term “gestalt” may ring a bell. Gestalt psychology is a theory of visual perception that originated in the early 1900s. Gestalt is actually a German word that refers to how things are put together. In essence, gestalt principles inform how our brains piece together and organize the many visual cues that we’re constantly bombarded with.

There are six principles that form gestalt theory:

  • Closure (the brain fills out missing elements by itself to make a whole, e.g., negative space)
  • Continuation (the brain always follows the easiest, smoothest path)
  • Figure (the way the brain distinguishes foreground and background elements)
  • Proximity (the brain perceives objects to belong to one group based on how close/far they are from each other)
  • Similarity (the brain automatically groups elements that look similar)
  • Symmetry (the brain makes sense of ambiguous shapes using the simplest method)

Interaction Design

When a website has a good interaction design, it means that the user is able to interpret visual elements and their functions. If they see a red button with an image of a shopping cart, for example, they know immediately what it does. The psychology behind interaction design also takes into account the learnability and usability of the design.

The cues or signifiers that come with a website’s functions (a red dot to indicate that there’s a new update within an app, for example) are also part of interaction design.

Visual Hierarchy

Last but certainly not least, visual hierarchy is a principle of both psychology and design that refers to the arrangement of visual elements according to importance. By using proper visual hierarchy, the user can take one look at a page and see what’s the most important part and therefore give it the most attention. Usually, the largest elements are a hook to trigger curiosity. Think about event posters that say ONE NIGHT ONLY. As a passerby, your attention is hooked and you’re likely to stop and read the rest.

By familiarizing yourself with these psychology concepts, you’ll be able to make a well-designed website that’s easy to use and understand.