Maximise website effectiveness
Using a web design that is kind to the brain will increase a visitor’s emotional reaction and therefore their ability to assimilate the information you wish to convey, thus maximising a website’s effectiveness.
Readers of our blog will remember a recent article of ours detailed how colours can affect us psychologically and how these mood-altering powers can be used in web design. However as you would expect, this only tells part of the story about how our brains process visual information and therefore react to visual stimulus.
It has been known for a long time that our brains function best when motivated, or put more simply, when they are engaged in something that we find interesting. When we think about this in the context of web design, we need to consider how the visual aspects of a web page will capture a reader’s interest by invoking emotions in order to motivate their brain. This can be done in a number of ways through the use of prominent words, pictures, movement or even numbers (such as prices). Whatever technique or combination of techniques is used, they must be appropriate and relevant to the target audience.
As with most things in life, motivating a visitor’s brain with your website needs to be a considered activity. We are all familiar with the feelings of bombardment that a piece of art, video or website containing too much information can invoke. When we are faced with too much visual information the brain is over loaded and we fail to understand or decipher the message that piece of media is trying to convey. This in turn has the effect of minimising the retention of that information.
This is counterproductive when viewed in the context of web design. The purpose of every website is to convey information to its visitors. When a website is a marketing tool this has commercial implications. In this case, the visual aspect of the website becomes increasingly important – it must be designed in such a way that maximises understanding and retention in order to encourage the visitor to make a purchase or get in touch.
So, in theory the concept is simple – less is more. By keeping a web design simple with the judicial use of colour, shape, images and fonts you will increase your users ability to assimilate the information or emotions you are trying to convey and make your website a far more powerful sales and marketing tool. By using a brain friendly design you will maximise the effect of your website.
The theory may be simple, but its implementation requires a fair degree of skill and an understanding of the target audience. Psychologists have found that people broadly fall in to 2-catagories; reward seekers and threat avoiders. Those with reward seeking personalities will generally work harder to discover the information they require and engage with a website more readily, while the threat avoiders will not want to stay on a website for long and need their information more promptly. So when considering target audience and the effects your web design will have, you may also need to consider the potential personality type of that audience and whether you reveal your information immediately or encourage a user to investigate further.
That said, most of us are using our websites to sell something whether that be a product or an idea and such deep psychological insight may not be required. However, the concept of simplicity of design, encompassing all the visual components (and many more) mentioned in this article, coupled with the way in which information is revealed, will stand you in good stead when considering the purpose of your website.
A skilled and experienced web designer will work with you to determine these factors and know how best to utilise these techniques. It is therefore worth employing the services of a professional web designer and avoid the pitfalls associated with the do-it-yourself generic template companies who seem increasingly tempting to the small business owner. So, be kind to the brain and maximise your website’s effectiveness.