You can create the most spectacular website in the world, but it fails if it doesn’t convert. The first job of a web designer is to solve problems and encourage users to follow a client’s call to action. It’s easier to persuade someone when you have words in your arsenal, but what about non-verbal elements that could be just as effective?
In a study, an image of a fly was installed in urinals across various airports to reduce spillage rates. The results showed that the presence of the fly incentivised men to aim properly. Spillage rates dropped 80%, a clear example of persuasion in action, without words.
Did you know that the human brain processes visuals 50x faster than text? The right visuals can work wonders for your e-commerce site. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you incorporate persuasive design elements into your site.
Get to know your target audience
To persuade your audience to take a specific action, you need to know how the rational part of their brain works. What guides their emotional and subconscious decision-making process? The best way to get a good answer is to speak to them through split tests, usability tests and user surveys. Once you understand your audience, you’ll know how your product fits in with their lives.
Clarity of the offering
The first thing the brain does when it sees something it doesn’t understand is to ask questions. What is this? How can I use it? Will it hurt me? People go to websites they are interested in. The most important factor of good web design is making it easy for users to find that thing that interests them.
When they land on your website, they should understand what your site is about, be able to find the information they are looking for, understand the benefits of the service/product and how to use it. Your Unique Value Proposition should tell them why they should buy from you and ignore the competition.
All the pages on your website, such as product pages, the homepage and the about me page should be clear about who you are and what you are offering.
The message in this image is clear. When you get a card reader, you can immediately start accepting credit cards. The answer to the “Why” is that the card reader is free, and they only take 2.75% per swipe.
A website that is visually appealing
Only 6% of web users notice the content at first glance. The other 96% notice the visual design. The impression you leave on a user could impact the experience they have on your website. Make your website simple to navigate.
For example, this image from Simple Banking’s website is perfect. The homepage uses a lot of whitespace, it’s clear and easy to use and the content matches their mission statement. With the whitespace, you’ll pay more attention to important elements on the page. They list six solid reasons to enter your email and get an invite.
Strong visual hierarchy
This is an essential principle behind effective web design. When looking at the circle below, you already know that the colour blue is the most important circle because it is the biggest.
Make the most important element or message the biggest and most visible. Visual hierarchy is the practice of making the core elements the standout features on the page.
For e-commerce websites, the bestselling items should be the most visible, to draw attention. Don’t bury your offer in tiny letters. It should be written in bold at the top of the screen where every visitor can see it.
Apart from making the elements larger, you can also use colour to highlight your key message. Whitespace makes the target element more noticeable. Any of the three options works.
Use common language
You’ll need a combination of images and text to build a persuasive website. When written by a good conversion copywriter, the text will increase sales on your website. Use short phrases and words. Bullet points highlight your primary sales points and make it easy to scan the information. Avoid large blocks of text that no one will read.
It can be a challenge finding simple words that communicate your offer if you’re in an industry such as technology. Write text that a teenager would understand. Avoid industry jargon as much as possible.
Anchor visitors with reference clues
The human mind works in complex ways. When presented with high figures, your mind shudders at the thought of paying an expensive price. When a lower figure is introduced, even though, technically, it is still a high price, the brain finds it easier to accept this new deal.
This is a good example from the introduction of the iPad by Steve Jobs.
People were willing to pay $499 because it was inexpensive when compared to the initial price of $999. You can apply the same principle in web design by placing visual reference cues on your website that compares one trigger with a subsequent one.
Notice the different prices. The donation is smaller (€1.50 against €32) when compared to what you would pay for the handbag.
CTA copy design and placement
The best CTAs are short, sweet and describe what happens when the user clicks the button. A good technique is to break the copy into a primary headline and a sub-headline that supports the main headline. This is more effective than writing a long description that requires a larger CTA button.
The goal of every business is to increase conversion and get more revenue. Incorporating persuasive design and complementing it with great text increases engagement and conversion. Design should not be an afterthought for your business, but a well-thought-out strategy with your target audience in mind.