Emotional design turns casual users into fanatics, ready to tell others about their positive experience. – Aarron Walter, author of Designing for Emotion.
Website design is technologically superior to many crafts. It requires the hands of a skilled artist, one who understands complexity yet knows how to display it in a simple way. It also requires the ability to adapt to an ever-changing industry and a dedication to learning the latest technologies to remain competitive.
Web design has rapidly switched its gears in the last two decades. The websites of yesterday lacked personality and character and were based on serious company personas. Businesses left humor and creativity at the door because they thought users would think these traits were trivial.
This line of thinking has shifted in the last 5-10 years and the web has become more about identifying a unique brand personality rather than trying to be “stuffy” and machine-like.
The web design industry for many years has been a left-brained industry where accuracy and perfection were paramount to success. Though this precision is still necessary to execute professional designs, it can become a handicap when it overshadows the much-needed, emotional attributes of right-brained thinking.
Website visitors must have a dual-brained experience when landing on a website.
Here is what two sides of the brain would think:
The website appears professional
It contains all the necessary elements
It loads fast
The content is grammatically correct
All elements are in place and neat
I feel secure on this website
I can trust the webmaster
The site makes me feel comfortable
I feel connected to the person behind the website
I do not feel like it will be a risk to proceed further
I like the design and colors
What’s interesting is that both of these categories will intersect. For example, if a user cannot find the elements for which he is looking (left-brained), he will express emotions of frustration (right-brained) and potentially leave the site.
The most successful websites satisfy both the left and right brains of visitors and leave a lasting impression.
Web design for emotions is more than just making people happy or excited. We will discuss some of those principles when we talk about color theory, but generally, designing for emotions is centered on building a site that allows users to build trust and feel secure.
The internet is somewhat of an invisible entity. Virtually anyone can put up a site and scam people into giving them money. The web is full of job scams, identity theft plots, and phishing crimes and internet users are scared as a result.
Visitors will arrive to your website site already skeptical. They will consider you guilty until proven innocent. This defense mechanism can only be eliminated when you, with your web design, make visitors feel comfortable and strive to portray someone they can trust.
You must find a way to “humanize” your site so people will feel there is a real, genuine person behind it and not a computer or machine.
When visitors feel a connection, no matter how small, the walls of skepticism begin to dissolve, and trust will replace it. Trust is one of the most sacred of human emotions.
Here are some ways you can use web design elements to connect with your visitors on an emotional level: