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05 Nov 20

5 Powerful Human Behaviour Techniques To Elevate Your Web Design

Irwin Hau | Web Design

There’s a saying ‘people might not remember what you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel’. The same goes for your website, and the ‘experience’ it provides your customers. Your customers might not be able to physically walk into your store, but your choice of imagery and copy will shape their impression of your brand.

This is important to remember, because decision-making (sales) is deeply rooted in feelings. When presented with 2 similar choices, people will often ‘go with their gut’ or their instinct. Understanding the psychology of how humans are wired, and how to appeal to their instincts, will help direct your marketing and web design decisions. 

We can draw on neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s groundbreaking findings to further highlight this. Through his studies, he was able to demonstrate that people who have suffered trauma in the emotional areas of their brain, and consequently cannot feel, struggle to make decisions. Purely governed by logic, you are left with a brain that cannot make up its mind. 

1) Priming

The first technique you can tap into is the process of priming, which positions someone to be more likely to be more receptive later on. The ‘foot in door’ technique starts with asking for something small from your customer, that requires minimal effort and is free. However, this small task starts a relationship with them, and opens a door to you in their mind. When people say ‘yes’ to something small and have a positive experience, they are more likely to say agree to bigger things down the track. This end goal can be your service or product that you want to sell. 


  • Commenting / liking on social media 
  • Downloading a free e-book or guide
  • Signing up to your mailing list
  • Reading your blog posts (filled with tips & advice)

2) Reciprocity

Coined by Robert Cialdini, the principle of reciprocity stands on the intrinsic response of feeling gratitude, appreciation and indebtedness, when someone does something for you. Our sense of pride and integrity has developed in us a desire to ‘return the favour’ and to give back the feelings of appreciation.

As an example, you’re more likely to buy a gift for someone who bought you one. How does this translate in business? It can be free samples, a complimentary check-up, or free quote. Though it requires you to give out of pocket, this marketing expense can warm up your customers with appreciation, who will be more likely to choose you over your competitors, with the feelings of reciprocity you’ve invoked in them.

3) Social Proof

“Birds of a feather flock together” is a commonly known proverb. In friendships and communities, people often share similarities in opinions, tastes, and thoughts. When unsure about something, people often look to their peers and other people for their experience to make a judgement. 

You can influence your potential customers by sharing social proof of your past customers. This social proof can also extend to leaning on other trusted brands to elevate your brand.

  • Positive testimonials and feedback
  • Portfolio of your work in past projects
  • Partnerships with other trusted companies
  • Trust seals (Norton Secured, SSL Certificates, McAfee)

4) Scarcity

Ever wondered why people at vintage auctions will bid large sums of money for an artefact? Often because it is rare or the only one of its kind. When something is scarce, its value increases dramatically, thus also increasing its desirability in our eyes. 

When something is common or readily available, people will feel more relaxed about securing it. When something is limited, this adds a sense of urgency and need for action. There are feelings of worry from missing out, or FOMO as you might have heard (a popular phrase used by millennials). 

Your web design can feature ‘limited stock’ badges, sales countdown timers, or ‘low stock’ indicators to highlight the scarcity of your items. These simple words can appeal to your customer’s fears of missing out and improve your sales conversions.

5) Anchoring

People require context to determine the value and worth of a particular item, product or service. If you want your customers to feel and see worth in your offerings, you can do so by anchoring. As an example,  you can show the RRP for a product, cross it out and then show your slightly lower price. Seeing the original higher number, and then seeing the lower one allows them to visually see the value you offer, and highlight the value they might not have initially recognised. 

With these 5 psychology principles in mind, you can improve your marketing strategies on your website, to better appeal to your customers’ feelings, improve their emotional impulse to buy and position your brand in an even more desirable light.

How can we help?

If you’d like to use one of these techniques for your own website, you can give us a call at Chromatix on 03 9912 6403 (and be sure to ask for Irwin). With a team of experienced conversion specialistsUI/UX designers, dedicated front-end and back-end developers, we’d love to share our tried and tested psychological framework with you.

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