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What is persuasive web design and how can it benefit your business?

For years, digital technology has been influencing human behaviour and intentions.

Every time technology becomes more interactive, its potential to change or influence behaviour increases; in the process, smart business owners attain more conversions and returns.

One of the most rewarding digital methods business have been using to influence customer decisions and convert so well is known as persuasive web design.

As a product of modern technology and psychological theories, persuasive web design has been helping businesses to adapt better to client needs and contexts, and a web design company that knows what to lookout for will be able to incorporate persuasive web design into the designs that they create.

We’re seeing designers using advanced tools and ideas to tailor user experience and incorporate other persuasive elements more discreetly than ever.

With persuasive web design, you will grab the attention of users faster, keep them engaged and lead them towards a desired action at the right time.

Keep reading to find out how persuasive design works exactly, how it can benefit your business and how to implement it.

What is persuasive design?

Persuasive web design is a technique that businesses use to influence human behaviour through the characteristics of a product or service, and it involves both visual appeal and effective user experience.

If your website is efficiently designed to persuade, then it should entice users to purchase products and services. It should be able to convert a casual visitors into a paying customer within a short period of time.

For a while, websites were used solely for commercial purposes, never focusing enough on user experience. It was as though the aim of website designers was to stuff as much content into a single web page as possible.

Today, we are utilizing advanced psychological research to drive more engagement and conversions. Through persuasive design, we are paying attention to the emotional and psychological needs of the users.

One of the top companies that has managed to implement persuasive web design flawlessly is Amazon.

This company persuades its users to continue buying more and more by constantly recommending alternative accessories and products.

Why persuasive design works

As a human being, you spend a lot of energy to create shortcuts in your memory. These shortcuts are meant to help you avoid revaluating the same thing twice.

Note that your brain uses a lot of energy to make a rational decision based on tangible evidence.

That means that it is always looking for ways to avoid spending too much energy on critical thinking. It builds the shortcuts to help it make quick decisions which are often true. The shortcuts are known as cognitive biases.

You can utilize these shortcuts to get someone to make decisions quicker. When you optimize your website to document our cognitive biases into persuasive patterns, you’ll be more likely to convert.

Here’re some of the different ways persuasive design is important to a business and how it’s used.

Persuasive web design favours recognition (over recall)

Many businesses are using persuasive web design to get valuable data from users.

You’d be more likely to turn off a consumer by asking them to name four items (as they’ll have to tap into their memory) as opposed to asking them to select four things from a list.

Each time you make a user think, you give them a reason to go elsewhere. Recognition tasks give cues that make it easy for users to recall. That’s why we always choose familiar things over unfamiliar ones, even when the familiar option is not the best option.

If your website is optimized to favour recognition over memory, you’ll help users use less mental energy while making decisions.

Be persuasive: while designing your website, try filling the standard empty fields with well-defined and intelligent options to choose from instead of asking them to remember things. Make sure you use attractive visual imagery and auto-complete options as well.

Persuasive web design favours completion

Prospects always have a need for closure. This need often motivates them toward action to achieve a certain goal. One of the ways web designers incorporate this aspect of pervasive design is by promoting completion to drive web users to take certain actions.

Be persuasive: divide bigger tasks into smaller, sub-tasks and reward your users for completing each one of them. Take this as an opportunity to set expectations and put across information about what’s next.

Offer the users closure by providing practical rewards when they accomplish goals.

Persuasive web design incorporates authority

We tend to trust the taste and decisions of our authority figures. We believe that what they choose would work well for us; we are therefore likely to go with their choices.

We also naturally have a sense of responsibility or duty to people in authority. That makes it difficult to decline their wishes.

Be persuasive: It’s important to show off any expert in your team on your website to boost your credibility to your prospects. Make their opinions known to users so that they make decisions quicker.

Persuasive web design reinforces the status-quo bias

As a human being, you rely on your past experiences and emotions to make decisions faster. Any experience you had in the past that was successful are imprinted in your brain as a shortcut.

These shortcuts help you react quicker when you face a similar decision in future, so that you don’t have to evaluate all your decisions rationally all the time.

You also know that the more difficult or complex a decision is, the harder it is for you to rely on such experiential shortcuts. Instead, you’re likely to resort to accepting default options or making guesses at the expense of thorough cost-benefit analysis.

Any website that states the options that are popular or preselects intelligent default choices for the users is more likely to convert. A company known as DeviantArt once reported that changing their newsletter checkbox to being pre-checked increased opt-ins by more than 40%.

Be persuasive: utilize the status-quo bias by availing default choices your users. This will keep them from thinking too hard about their choice and get them to take action faster.


Persuasive web design tailor’s user experiences

Most of the top companies always work towards offering their prospects tailored experiences. For instance, if your company sells clothes online, you can design your website to offer recommendations for similar clothes when a prospect views one of them.

You can also make your users’ experience feel personalized by referring to them by name or helping them remember what they viewed recently.

You can also creatively include small changes, such as a personal greeting after login to help the user feel acknowledged.

Be persuasive: boost your conversions by tailoring your prospects’ experience as discussed above, and also by showing content or instructions pertaining to their needs.

That will create the critical feeling of connection to the web environment and increase engagement.

A persuasive web design can help you build confidence, trust and get your prospects to respond positively and quickly to your CTA. It takes only 50 milliseconds for us to make a quick judgment.

You can help your web users make decisions in such a span of time and stack the deck in your favour. All you need to do is implement the tips we’ve discussed.