Human Elements of Website Design

Human Elements of Website Design

Human Elements of Website Design


Website design has progressed immeasurably during the last decade, so much so that the focus today is not so much on creating a website design that functions flawlessly; we have become experts at this now. The attention is focused on creating a more emotionally focused and ‘humanised’ website that provides visual and emotional stimuli, whilst continuing to meet and excel its user and business goals.

The full potential of the World Wide Web is to create an emotional platform that can be universally understood and appreciated. Website designers have always known that users respond better when their senses are engaged, the simple analysis of website analytics proves this, but in order to create an even more engaging visual impact, a new level of emotion needs to be built into our websites.The foundation of good design means that the user and business goals are the first priority, and the goals of the design itself, whether the website is an online shop, blog, retail company or multinational corporation. Consistency is always key, as is context. If you know who you are designing for, you can target the correct users with the right tone and relevancy and the right emotional and visual signals.From the initial impact of a website, during those first few seconds when a user will either bounce straight out of your website or begin browsing, an emotional connection must be felt by the user, and this can be induced in many ways. If we understand the basic principles of human psychology, we can see why:

We are naturally curious.
Curiosity is a trait we all carry, whether subtly or not, and a website design that draws us in with an unusual typography, attractive colour scheme or fun imagery is likely to keep us happily browsing for at least a couple of minutes. A sense of ambiguity with a product is also an innovative way to encourage users to learn more.

We like organisation, and patterns.
No website design is ever created at random; navigational bars, sidebars and headers are all carefully laid out to follow a familiar pattern that we can navigate without having to search for it. Consistency between the webpages presents users with a free flowing and relaxed experience that keeps them at ease.

We are self-centred and like to relate to one another.
When adding images to a website, why not choose images with people? This instantly creates a friendly website that we can relate to thanks to the people in the images. If they are interacting with a particular product or service, we automatically think that we can do the same. Putting a name to a face and a face to a product is a crucial part of transforming clicks into leads and leads into sales.

With these values taken into consideration, we can understand why certain websites are so successful and have such a dedicated user base thanks to the strength of their emotional impact. As humans we are programmed to follow each other, and so a website in which interaction can be seen and experienced by the user will invite us to become part of that community. In terms of content, feedback forms, FAQs, blogs and social networking all provide a way for us to interact with a website, and to share our own emotions with our friends and colleagues. Whilst personal taste may vary between users, the fundamental visual symbols are subconscious: if the website is successful on a visceral level, and it functions easily and quickly, then users will interact with it.

So, how can we make our websites more human? Fun is also an important element in contemporary website design, and is overlooked by most, yet humour lets users feel comfortable and makes a website feel less like a robot and more like us, able to make us smile. Humour of course is not as universal as certain visual aesthetics, and so should not be used in every website design, but it can provide a sense of familiarity and trustworthiness to a company or brand by relating to us in a way that technology never does.


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