Neuro Web Design: Tips and Techniques

Neuro Web Design: Tips and Techniques

Does your website have a stickiness factor? While most websites are built to attract customers to a business – providing the information necessary to do business with them – many may or may not contain an underlying strategy necessary to convert more sales. A recent phenomenon in human factors has emerged called ‘Neuro Web Design’.

This methodology borrows from research on motivation, decision-making, and neuroscience in the creation of websites that are more engaging and effective overall. Just what is this concept of Neuro Web Design? In this article I will discuss the idea further, and present some tips and techniques for applying it to your own designs.

Neuro Web Design

What is Neuro Web Design?

Neuro Web Design is a technique that explores how human behavior and motivation have a role in the design of websites. Susan Weinschenk has laid out and explained these principles very well in her book, “Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click.” These concepts are even more important in the age of usability and user experience – where a site must cater to a specific audience in order to increase sales – otherwise your customer is bound to find another site that meets their demands.

UX Notes

This idea merges these different fields of psychology, neuroscience, and user experience in understanding how and why we react to things we may not fully realize.

Principles of Persuasion

So how does science play into designing websites? Under the concept of Neuro Web Design we’re led to believe that visitors react to a particular website based on three areas. These areas – emotion, logic, and instinct – can provide us cues to designing websites successfully.

Principles of Persuasion

7 Principles That Make Your Website More Engaging
Dr. Susan Weinschenk shares seven principles to make your website more engaging – principles of persuasion, emotion, and trust.

Designing Your Website to Appeal

Emotion

It’s common sense that some of our favorite websites tend to grab our attention due to the emotions they conjure up. Yet still the technical nature of the web often clouds our vision of an emotional appeal a website can contain. We get too caught up in discussing how we want the site to function – Content Management Systems, blogs, etc. – instead of the overarching impression we wish to leave on the user.

In creating emotion, the idea is to set aside these technical worries and focus first on the design elements that go deeper and formulate a bond with your product or service. The idea is to stimulate a response after you’ve communicated the idea both visually and through words.

Compal

Consider the website for Compal. How do you feel when visiting this website? What emotions does it conjure up? How do you think it compares with other beverage market websites? The website helps create a story in the viewer’s mind about the quality and origins of the juice.

The details of the design, such as the interactive fruit story, only serve to emphasize the quality of the product. The photography adds to the emotional impact, making us yearn for the product or want to know more. The website works hard at promoting the benefits of the juice, evoking a trusting feeling from the viewer.

Logic

Logic in web design simply means making sure your website flows properly. Your goal is to arrange the elements on your page so they create a natural dialogue and enhance the user experience. Have you ever browsed a website and had questions running through your mind regarding the content and layout?

Common examples of mental commentary may be “Where should I click to send a message?” or “What’s this?” By presenting information in a logical way, you avoid the questions that may pop into the viewer’s mind, allowing them to seamlessly browse your site with their expectations in place.

Pricing Tables

On the website Wufoo, the pricing table is laid out intuitively with a sign-up button included under each plan.

Wufoo

Viewers are quickly able to compare features and prices in a quick, stress-free format. This aids in the overall user experience as there’s no confusion as where to go next, which streamlines the sign-up process.

Instinct

There are parts of human nature that are automatic and work without so much as thinking about it. Instinct is a powerful tool to tap into in web design, as the success of a product or service can oftentimes come down to how well you persuaded someone to buy it. Of course, your material should be good and highly usable if you expect to generate any modicum of success in the long run. If you utilize both of these aspects you’re on your way to making an impact through your website.

Nintendo

Nintendo is one brand that uses scarcity marketing in creating demand for their products. The use of scarcity marketing can be effective in that people are naturally drawn to what they think they can’t have. A person’s instinct is to buy sooner rather than later when a sale ends the same day, or an offer ends soon.

Ideeli

Ideeli is another site that utilizes the concept of scarcity marketing. A countdown timer indicates how long the user has until the deal ends, giving them a sense of urgency to book their travel getaway before it’s gone. Similar sites such as Groupon and Living Social work under the same premise, and have been successful in modern web design.

Merging All Three

The idea of Neuro Web Design is that these three regions of our brain must work in harmony when viewing a website to get the results you’re looking for. Not only should your website create excitement and stir up emotions, but its layout has to flow naturally while provoking the user to act on the service or product you’re promoting. Keep the following in mind in applying the principles of Neuro Web Design to your own sites:

  • Create an emotional effect appropriate to the service or product being offered. While a design trend may look good now, the result will give your website the same personality as another. Be unique!
  • Enhance usability by making your sign-up forms just a few fields to make it easier on the user. One-click registration that doesn’t require email verification is ideal.
  • Promote desirability by utilizing persuasion tactics on your website. Include testimonials, user-generated reviews, and use professional, high-quality photos or videos of your product, etc

Case Studies

The following websites are successful in applying these areas to their overall user experience.

Rockable
Rockable

Squarespace
Squarespace

Mailchimp
Mailchimp

Mozilla
Mozilla

Cup Cup
Cup Cup

Green Woods C.C.
Green Woods C.C.

Code Monkey for Hire
Code Monkey for Hire

Mint
Mint

Domino’s Pizza
Domino's Pizza

Gift Rocket
Gift Rocket

Resources

Conclusion

If you’re new to web design, or are a seasoned designer interested in how your designs can increase usability and trigger a response from the user, applying these Neuro Web design concepts to your work is worth pursuing. By doing so you’ll get a handle on the best way to present design and content that entices visitors and helps generate business to your company.

Of course, all these practices won’t matter if you don’t have a solid product or service to begin with, so get that down first. The rest will only serve to market it successfully.

Stephanie Hamilton is a Brand Stylist and Web Designer whose passion is helping creative entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups develop memorable and meaningful brand and digital experiences. Visit By Stephanie and let's collaborate to tell your brand's story.

Comments

    • LessLessMoreMore,
    • April 3, 2012
    / Reply

    Call me a dinosaur, but I am beginning to miss the days when making a website was all about html and javascript, maybe a few CGI scripts, and you’re done. CSS was a huge change I welcomed warmly. PHP was a game-changer. I rolled with the xhtml “revolution” and the abandonment of tables. I looked forward to ongoing improvement in the areas of accessibility, especially for disabled individuals. Content management systems? Javascript libraries for quicker development? They may have made a lot of previously exempt noobs who can’t code join the business, but I accepted these technologies, too.

    Fast forward to 2012. UX, SEO, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, supporting 9283827 browsers, mobile design, “mobile-first,” RWD, node.js, preprocessors for CSS, neuro-design, breakpoints, design patterns, coding patterns, the new SVG rage, and all this moaning about gamification and other equally inane buzzwords. It’s enough to make a web developer who has been in the biz for over a decade want to change fields. It’s hard to filter the genuinely useful stuff from this cloud of trends, and ignore the crap that’s just a fad, because in the end, you feel like you have to master all of it or you’re falling behind. And that’s so far from true. You don’t. It’s especially troubling when you know in 5+ years it’ll all be gone and replaced with new fads.

    1. / Reply

      Well…best of luck to you!

    • Saya,
    • April 3, 2012
    / Reply

    This is one of the best articles I read for web design, I like when science facts showed for designs. Then what designers do it by their senses and knowledge makes more sense.I will keep the video to show my clients when needed
    Thanks alot

    1. / Reply

      Thanks Saya! Glad this article could help.

    • Chuck,
    • April 3, 2012
    / Reply

    Successful designers naturally apply these concepts without the knowledge or principles behind them….I’ve always maintained that you can teach people design techniques and principles but there are deeper emotional elements within design that can not be taught. Explained yes….but not taught.

    1. / Reply

      Thanks! I’m drafting up an article on those emotional elements right now ;)

  1. / Reply

    Users will be persuaded to follow through with a purchase or inquiry if they feel empowered by the journey that got them to that point. Empowerment comes from logical usability and clear direction. Ultimately, as you say, we want to “increase usability and trigger a response from the user,” and these are the principles that make this possible! An empowered user is a persuaded user.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

    1. / Reply

      I completely agree, Sarah! Thanks for reading!

  2. / Reply

    You have shown some really great design options! Thanks!

    1. / Reply

      Thanks Zookii!

  3. / Reply

    Hi Stephanie. Your tip and techniques on Neuro Web design are good. But this is a basic guidelines for the beginners only. If you have some new concepts and some new web designs then please share it in other articles.

  4. / Reply

    Hi really such a good information to users and now who are all going to search a lot of designing tools really this is more helpful to users.

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