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Psychology-Based Web Design Keys to Boost Engagement

Some people think that web design is a purely artistic field. Yet, the sense of beauty isn’t enough to create a design that boosts engagement. Designers need to understand which elements evoke certain emotions and reactions – that is a part of psychology. 

Beginner designers may see psychology as a complex approach to improve designs. However, it is not complicated when you have the proper guidelines to start. 

In this article, you’ll learn eight web design tips to help improve user engagement based on psychological theories. We’ll also show you how popular brands use design and psychology on their websites for your inspiration. 

1. Less Is More

Too much clutter on a website can confuse the target audience. 

Increasing white space effectively reduces visual clutter and helps give visual prominence to the key points. One popular brand that uses ample white space is Apple. It lets the menu, headline, and image stand out. 

To apply white space correctly, consider using minimalist templates from your website builder. You can customize them as you need. 

Another way to avoid clutter is limiting choices. The jam experiment shows that more people purchase when there are fewer options. 

Therefore, minimize choices in your web design by including one CTA (Call To Action) button per page and limiting product options or pricing plans. A rule of thumb is to list only two to three options and highlight the most important one. 

2. Humanize Your Website

Humanizing your brand helps make your content relatable and engaging. 

Here are several ways to humanize your website:

  • Use the staff’s photos. Build trust by showing customers the people behind the brand. One of the best examples is Zulu Alpha Kilo’s staff page, as it represents the brand by using playful photos and funny bios. 
  • Integrate user-generated content. Display the brand’s trustworthiness by showing your customers. A good example is Everlane featuring its customers’ Instagram posts on its website. 
  • Include storytelling. Develop an emotional connection with readers. For instance, Airbnb shares its hosts’ experiences from various countries. 

3. Integrate Multimedia

Multimedia helps improve engagement and memorability. 

Human beings process images 60,000 times faster than text and are more likely to remember them after leaving a page. Besides photographs of your staff or users, you can use other images, like illustrations and infographics. 

Another effective multimedia to include in your website is videos since people are ten times more likely to engage with a video than a block of text. 

Take a look at how the FIFA game's website uses videos effectively. It has a video in the background and includes YouTube videos showing the game's teaser and features. 

Other types of videos to integrate on your website are demo and how-to videos.  

4. Apply Color Psychology

Color psychology analyses how colors can impact our thoughts and feelings. For example, many people associate the ocean blue with peace and tranquility. 

This color theory offers several benefits to your web design. 

First, colors help communicate your brand identity, so people can notice what you’re doing even without reading the content. For example, toy producers tend to use a colorful palette to evoke an energetic brand image, while liqueur products use more muted colors to look classy. 

Colors can also draw attention to essential elements. Bold colors will bring more emphasis, so no wonder that web designers often use them on CTA buttons, links, and headlines. 

5. Apply Typography and Font Psychology

Like colors, fonts also play an essential role in evoking certain feelings towards your website and brand.

Generally, sans serif fonts like Arial and Calibri are better for a modern look. Meanwhile, serif fonts like Times New Roman and Garamond are perfect for formal and sophisticated web design.

However, prioritize using sans serif fonts for the body text for better engagement. They’re easy to read on a low-resolution screen. Serif fonts are a good option for headlines or headings to maintain a high-class look.  

Besides the font types, sizes also matter in web design. A rule of thumb is using a 16-point font size at minimum for body text, especially on mobile devices. Smaller font sizes will make your content harder to read. 

6. Add Social Proof

The actions of people around us influence our decisions, including brands we choose or products we buy. 92% of people trust their peers’ recommendations and 40% of them buy a product online after seeing an influencer use it. 

There are some ways to use social proof on your website, such as:

  • Explain your customers’ success with case studies. 
  • Showcase awards and accolades. 
  • Share compliments you get from a celebrity or a famous person in your niche. 
  • Display the number of your customer base or products you’ve sold. 
  • Include testimonials and reviews from previous customers. 

7. Use Gamification 

Based on a peak-end rule in modern psychology, people judge an experience primarily based on how they felt at its peak and end. In this case, gamification helps create a peak experience and makes people stay by providing entertaining features.  

One gamification technique to use is by integrating quizzes like Beardbrand. It’s fun, and the results help visitors discover which products to buy. The quiz also helps the brand increase its user engagement as more than 150,000 people have viewed it. 

Alternatively, create design elements resembling a game. For example, Robby Leonardi created an interactive resume by encouraging readers to make the man move to read the complete resume. 

8. Optimize Website Performance 

Psychology-based website design is not only about aesthetics but also website performance. 

Having a fast website is vital as 78% of people are irritated by visiting slow or unreliable websites. Slow online checkouts also make them doubt whether the transaction will be successful. 

A rule of thumb is to maintain the load times two seconds or less. This short period is natural as people expect computer performance to deliver response times as fast as possible. 

Another technical aspect of web design to look at is responsiveness. 70% of users are more likely to come back to a mobile-friendly website. If not, they’ll be frustrated as they think they’ve wasted their time. 

Check your website's mobile-friendliness using a tool like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or activate the Toggle device toolbar on Chrome. 


Integrating psychology into web design is a great way to deliver particular emotions and make readers engage with your website. 

Let’s recap the psychology-based design tips we’ve learned in this article:

  • Avoid too much clutter by using white space and limiting choices. 
  • Humanize your website with storytelling and photos of real people. 
  • Apply color and font psychology to evoke certain emotions.
  • Display social proof, like case studies and testimonials. 
  • Use multimedia, such as images and videos. 
  • Integrate gamification in your website. 
  • Think about the website’s performance and responsiveness. 

There you have it: psychological knowledge on web design and how to implement it. Now, it’s time to try these tips yourself and boost your website engagement. 

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