Home » How to Design and Build a Website Using Behavioral Theories

How to Design and Build a Website Using Behavioral Theories

If you are currently seeking web development services, chances are, you will encounter the phrase user experience (UX). UX pertains to having in-depth knowledge about your users–their needs, abilities, and limitations. UX also involves the things these users value. UX is an all-encompassing term for how an end-user interacts with your website. Integrating UX into a website’s design means developing a website that provides users with relevant and meaningful experiences while on the site.

Behavioral theories can anchor the building of a well-optimized website for UX. Also called behavioral design, it concerns how a website’s design shapes and influences user behaviors, including adding an item to the cart and completing the purchase. 

We have already discussed the web design principles that make your website stand out from the competition. What you want to know now is the actual process of designing and building your website using behavioral design.

Before we discuss these processes, let us know the different behavioral theories first, in addition to the principles already linked above.

Behavioral theories behind designing and developing a website

Attractiveness bias

Humans naturally gravitate toward all things beautiful. Psychologists call this attractiveness bias. As such, a good design will always topple poor design. 

Another important aspect of this theory is the concept of first impression. A website must make an excellent first impression. However, even when the novelty wears off, the overall personality of your website will translate to long-term visitors.

Serial positioning effect

The serial positioning effect highlights the importance of the placement of information. Therefore, organizing information so users may consume such in bits or chunks is highly recommended.

The first pieces of information are the easiest to recall, which explains why the emphasis of web design is on above-the-fold. However, there is also a visual hierarchy to follow, especially since the users intend to browse, not necessarily memorize the information presented to them.  

Depth of processing

Also called levels of processing, this is a continuation of the serial positioning effect. It pertains to the information that the users will engage with.

That is why designers must avoid intrusion and focus on subtle awareness instead. For example, users will not appreciate pop-up ads or auto-play videos. Use well-placed images and call-to-action (CTA) buttons instead. After all, users will perceive everything on what they see on their screens but will only interact with elements they deem critical in achieving their goals while on your website.

Fitts’s law

This theory suggests users will only take action based on certain factors such as proximity or relevance. Remember the three-click rule wherein the users must find the information they are looking for in a few clicks from the homepage or their entry page.

Thereby, Fitts’s law guides web designers in determining how the users will achieve their goals once they land on your website. Navigation should be intuitive, not an obstruction. You do not want to include too small a button that precise clicking becomes a chore.

Cognitive load

Cognitive load refers to how the users’ learning performance is reduced when there are several tasks to accomplish first to accomplish the said goal. For example, if a user wants to buy an item but needs to sift through several models, colors, and sizes at once, they might be discouraged from making purchase decisions. 

Do not confuse your target buyers by making your website effortless to use. Instead, ensure that the visitors will get what they need faster.

Zombie browsing effect

Zombie users operate through their primal instincts. And they would go straight to downloading a free copy of an e-book, for instance, without exploring your website for other offerings. This is where the role of distinctive design comes into play. As such, your website should have the ‘wow factor.’

Additionally, because of the zombie browsing effect, you need to streamline content placement on your website. Ensure that CTA buttons and other high-converting elements are within the users’ eye levels. Ditch the clutter and embrace negative white space as well.

Steps in developing a website using behavioral design

1) Identify user mindstates.

Mindstates, or your target users’ current state of mind, must dictate how you should design your website. This is the reason drafting user journey maps is vital. Once you clearly understand how you want your users to navigate from point A to point B, it will be easier to offer unique experiences along the way. 

To design elements with trigger points in mind, such as discounts, promo codes, vouchers for first-time users, etc., you also need to understand the factors that drive the users’ decision to purchase.

2) Design around these mindstates.

Building around specific emotional triggers requires you to consider what your users value the most. For instance, if you have a built-in loyalty program wherein members will incur more points by buying certain items, push such messaging to them. This is how you incorporate small wins into the process. This way, they will interact more with your website and your product offerings. If the credit card is declined, offer to slash the price so the user will try the card or another card again when paying for the carted items. Offer other payment options as well.

This is encapsulated in the psyche of your users, wherein their sense of belonging and reward orientation are highlighted. 

3) Streamline the flow.

Remove all the barriers that will discourage the users from converting, regardless of what you want them to achieve while exploring your website. These are friction points that change a good impression from delight to dissatisfaction. 

Disruptions can be in the form of several options, illegible fonts, unclickable buttons, and more. Web development services companies cannot emphasize the necessity of quality testing enough for this reason alone.

4) Put clear directions.

Removing barriers is not enough when designing a website with the users in mind. You must also directly tell them what to do next. This is crucial when the user has already reached the decision point, only to be turned off by confusion on what they should be doing next. 

Even if the website is intuitive, simple calls to action such as “buy now” or “download it here” would not hurt. Guide your users’ minds so they would not feel forced to do things.

5) Utilize best practices.

Leveraging web design best practices never goes out of style. It goes to say how beneficial additional behavioral design elements are. This can be in textual or visual forms. A great example is integrating social icons so users can directly share what they have purchased from you. Another way is to show people who bought the same product. This is for social validation. Or, you can offer add-on items for free or at discounted prices. Another best practice is showing hours until a sale starts or displaying the number of stocks to create a sense of urgency and scarcity. This is especially useful for products with FOMO (fear of missing out) appeal.

When you leverage these best practices, you create magical moments for your users. Conversely, science can also influence how users interact with a website. That is through behavioral design.

Optimind believes in designing to convert. This has always been our approach to web design and development. Learn more about how we can integrate such into your website. Talk to us about our web design and development services now!

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