Visual appeal and efficient user experience are key elements in creating a persuasive web design. A persuasive web design has a better chance of leading to a purchase of your products and services, optimizing your conversion rates.
Here are the golden rules for creating a persuasive web design:
1. Make clarity your top priority
To achieve clarity, relay your message in the simplest and quickest way possible. Avoid generic words like “biggest” or “most reliable.” Instead, point out a strength—preferably just one to avoid confusion—that puts you above your competitors.
If you have more to say about your business, allot sections for separate web pages that can further explain your products and services. This way, you can trim costs as users would not need to call up your office to ask information that could have been in the website in the first place, thus, cutting the need for costly call centers.
When presenting your message, think wisely of the color composition for your website. Does it make your content visually appealing? Is the typeface used legible? Won’t the color of the text overlap with a similar color on the background when users scroll down the web page? Also, don’t over decorate to avoid distraction.
As well, important messages should be placed above the fold to immediately capture a user’s attention. A survey by Orbit Media Studios showed that 80% of the top 50 marketing websites have an “explicit value proposition” displayed high on the home page. The same priority was given to CTAs with 78% placing them on the topmost part of the homepage.
Image source: http://www.freshbooks.com/
FreshBooks’ webpage is clean and clear. The call to action for free 30-day trial stands out. Its offer to take a quick tour of its platform also serves a secondary CTA that provides users with additional info.
2. Limit user options
Some 68 years later, Hick’s Law has found itself to be a significant component of web design. In 1951, British psychologist William Edmund Hick found that the more choices you give, the longer it takes to make a decision. And as more options are given, users can reach decision paralysis, which can lead to people abandoning the decision-making process.
In web design, this means limiting users’ choices by categorizing your choices. One way to accomplish this is by grouping menu items into categories. In the example above, Amazon offers a section where users can browse through each category. And by giving more space for its search box, it highlights its goal to give shoppers the ease of searching for the specific item they want.
A helpful exercise when segmenting the categories is card-sorting. Card-sorting helps you understand how visitors classify and organize items. This can be done in two ways: closed and open.
In a closed exercise, you use place content pieces under set categories or labels. This is most effective when introducing new products and offerings. Meanwhile, participants in an open exercise come up with their own category/labels. This is best when trying to find words that best describe categories.
The end goal is coming up with a simpler classification data structure that meets user’s needs.
3. Everything in your web design should be consistent with your brand personality
Websites are a great tool for molding a brand identity. This is why you should make sure that the visual elements you use are consistent with your brand’s personality.
You can start with choosing the right colors associated with the feeling your brand aims to evoke. The psychology of colors suggests yellow for joy, blue for peace and calm, black and white for luxury brands or those aiming for elegance. The colors should also sit well as a backdrop to your logo, which should be placed strategically. Most opt placing their logos at the top left.
Image source: https://www.pinterest.es/pin/435793701418357954/?autologin=true
When choosing a font, legibility should be prioritized. 99designs also recommends choosing two typefaces that complement each other and support the tone of your brand.
As well, be consistent with your tone. If you cater to a younger demographic, use words that they can relate to. Your tone could also be informal. If you’re catering to stock investors, for example, a formal tone is more appropriate.
Image source: https://www.sixflags.com/national/index.aspx
Six Flags sells the idea of fun and adventure. But does the map, which consumes a lot of space, enthrall you with the excitement Six Flags claims it has in store for you? Does a deep-toned orange, complemented with shades of red and blue, convey fun? Beyond these, there are more things lacking to the web design: visuals.
Speaking of which…
4. Improve visual appeal with relevant images
Infusing visuals helps in achieving a persuasive web design that can lead to optimized conversion rates. This is true in the case of, GPS Central, a retailer of GPS solutions, which improved their conversion rate by shifting from a text-heavy format to with more images.
Image source: https://shanebarker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GPS-Central.png
The simple addition of images, coupled with the adjustment for the web to be more ergonomic, boosted its revenue by 15%. This is due in part to the fact that humans can process images 60,000 times faster than text.
But beyond just adding pictures, customized photography is becoming a key area that web designers should take seriously. An eye-tracking study by the Nielson Norman Group found two key findings: first, users ignore images that do not portray a relationship with the message of the content; and second, generic photos are also ignored as users prefer images that have a real connection with the product or service promoted.
This technique of choosing relevant images was adopted by digital marketing solutions provider ExactTarget, which improved conversion by 40.18%.
Image source: https://static.wingify.com/vwo/uploads/sites/3/2013/07/Exact_Target.jpg
Whichever visual strategy you use, the fierce competition requires investing in visuals. After all, the images that greet your visitors give the crucial first impression of your brand. If you’re not a skilled photographer or videographer, hire a professional. The improved conversion rates will surely be worth the investment.
Users determine a website’s credibility through its design. And this translates to building trust.
This growing emphasis on the impact of web design is parallel to what is happening outside the online world, where companies are becoming more aware of how their packaging’s graphic design affects their sales. Going beyond visual design, a product’s packaging may also affect the overall perception of a company. As such, promoting environmentally-sustainable packaging has become a popular strategy brands use to build trust.
Similarly, web design has emerged from a purely aesthetic element to attract clients to embodying a business’ philosophies and ideals, making a deeper impact in optimizing conversion rates. Come up with design options and test which performs better. What design elements can you improve in your website design? Let us know in the comments section.
Aaron Chichioco is the chief content officer (CCO) and one of the web designers of Design Doxa. His expertise includes not only limited to Web/mobile design and development, but digital marketing, branding, eCommerce strategy and business management tactics as well. For more information about Aaron, visit our about us page.