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Web Design Sydney - 7 Tips to Make Your Website More Engaging

If you plan or design websites, then you know how important it is that the website be easy to use. Can they find the information they are looking for? Can they find the button they need to press? We call this the “can do” factor. But “can do” is not all there is. What about “will do”? They can find the button, but will they press it? They can find the information but will they act on it? And then there’s “still do”? Will they come back? Will they be loyal?

If you follow a user-centered design process, you will design a web site that answers the can do question, but it you want to go further and answer the “will do” and the “still do” questions, then you’re going to have to dig a little deeper and apply some of the new principals and research around persuasion, emotion and trust. I’m going to share with you seven principles that will make your websites more engaging, that will take you from “can do” to “will do” and “still do”

Number One: If people have too many choices, they won’t choose at all. One of my favorite studies in this area is by Shena Iyengar. Dr Iyengar set up tables in grocery stores with jars of jam and some of the tables had six jars of jam on them, and sometimes the tables would have twenty four jars of jam. She was interested in finding out if the number of choices that people had effected their decision and their purchasing process. What she found was that the tables that had six jars of jam on them, 40% of the people coming by would stop and taste the jam. On the tables that has 24 jars of jam on them, more people would stop, 60% instead of 40%, would stop and taste the jam. But there’s a surprise when you look at how many people actually purchased. When the tables had six jars of jam, 30% of the people actually purchase a jar of jam. When the tables had twenty four jars of jam, even though more people stopped, only 3% of those who stopped actually purchased. What we know is that people will tell us they want lots of choices. If you ask people how many choices they want at the web site, they’ll tell you ‘show me everything’, but we now know that they may want a lot of choices, but if you give them too many choices, they’ll freeze and not make a decision at all.

Number Two: Social Validation. What we know is that when people are uncertain, they’ll look to others to decide what to do. This is why ratings and review and testimonials at websites are so powerful, especially if people are unsure. And the more information that you can have in the ratings and reviews, the more powerful and the more influential the rating and review is. Research even shows that ratings and reviews from other people that I consider my peers are the most influential. They are more influential than reviews or testimonials from experts or recommendations from the website itself.

Number Three: Scarcity. If something is unavailable or not very available, if it’s scarce, it seems to be more valuable. So at a website when it says “only 4 more days to order your plane tickets” or “only 3 items left”, those are signals to our brain that we better hurry up, because we’re going to miss out. Our unconscious brains are very sensitive to messages that have to do with losing. Fear of loss is a trigger that will cause us to take action.

Number Four: Our unconscious minds are very sensitive to food, sex or danger. Those will definitely get our attention. It’s not always is appropriate to use images of food, sex or danger on a website, so you may not be able to make use of that, but if your website that your working on does lend itself to any of those images or messages, that will be a very powerful trigger for action.

Number Five: The power of faces. There’s actually a special part of the brain called the fusiform facial area and this is a part of the brain that only processes human faces. Our brains are predisposed to pay attention to faces. If you have pictures of people at your website, you want to make sure they are looking right at the camera because research shows that people focus on the eyes.

Number Six: Stories. There’s research that shows that the brain processes information best in story form.

Number Seven: Commitment. Start by asking people for very small commitments. Those small commitments can grow over time, then they become more and more loyal to your site.