How Web Design Psychologically Affects Conversion Rates


Once you have people on your site and your SEO/PPC/Social Media campaigns are functioning effectively, it’s important to focus on tweaking your conversion rates. You got them there - now focus all of your energy on maximizing your conversion rates!

The colors you use, placement of navigation, size of your fonts, load time, and other elements have a definite impact on how people react on your site.  Optimizing your site for conversion requires an understanding on your target audience’s preferences, demographics, and psychographics.

Let’s look at some of the key elements:

 Load Time: Load Fast or Lose Them

 If your page doesn’t load within the blink of an eye, the vast majority of users will leave. But perceived load time is just as important as the actual amount of time that websites take to fully appear on our screens. Some popular ways to decrease perceived load time include:

  •  Minimizing clutter
  • Optimizing images
  • Consistency in both design and function

Easily Recognizable Icons

Studies show that over half of human behavior, all the processes and functions we perform on a daily level, are based in our habits. These impulsive, habitual routines should be incorporated within web designs through the utilization of easily recognized, commonly used icons. The image of a house linking to our homepage, a picture of an envelope for contact purposes and other examples of simple, yet familiar images will psychologically connect with users.

Effective Use of White Space

For those unfamiliar, “white space” is the area of a website that has no content or visuals and doesn’t necessarily need to be that color. These blank areas on pages can focus the user’s attention to where we would like their eyes and actions to concentrate. Think of it this way, if a page has every square inch dedicated to visuals, links, icons and other content, there is no emphasis placed anywhere and the viewer will be overwhelmed without a visual break. Using white space can lead users to the areas of conversion without confusing them or making them feel lost.

Using Color Psychology

Speaking of white, one could write an entire paper on the use of color psychology on websites and other visual endeavors. For the sake of space and time, we’ll look at the primary colors and how they influence people:

  • RED: A strong color that actually increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure. This attention-grabbing hue is seen globally in stop signs, but often is a good choice for call to action buttons and other important icons. Studies show that using this shade in a bank lobby will speed up wait times spent in lines and students respond faster to cues underneath red lights rather than green.
  • BLUE: The majority of people’s favorite color, the popularity and recognizability of the Facebook logo comes to mind, and this color also creates a calming effect and inspires trust. PayPal’s website is also drenched in this well-favored and trustworthy color.
  • YELLOW: This youthful and positive shade is synonymous with the happy-faced icon which has been in place for over fifty years. Popular with children, this bright hue is also used as a cautionary announcement in traffic signs and symbols. Yellow can also suggest playfulness, a fun and friendly atmosphere and environment.


Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Perceived Value: Offer more than your competitors

In the design of your site, go beyond simple aesthetics.  Adding features to the site will increase your visitor’s perceived value.  Consider creating widgets or other relevant tools that your competitors don’t have to differentiate yourself from competitors.  Give your users a reason to come back, and come back they will.  Don’t just think of sales or giveaways; what about offering widgets or other apps?  In this example, Shopify offers a free barcode generator to offer a value add-on that competitors don’t have.

The Importance of Testing

So your site loads fast, you’re utilizing familiar icons, white space to draw attention to important aspects of your page and appropriate colors depending upon your business, but remember to test their effectiveness. The most common approach, A/B testing, where one example is pitted against another, is used to gauge the best methods to increase conversion rates.

Website design can be complicated, but these types of are strategies are utilized to drive more sales and gain higher conversion rates.  With a little ingenuity and some continued testing, you can learn to recognize how consumers react and offer them familiar and rewarding methods that will also boost revenue.


A business consultant and writer with a background. In the past, contributing articles on social media, marketing and startups. Nick has a real passion for technology.

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