Some new clients come to us and they are a little reticent about redesigning their website. Sometimes it’s because they invested a lot of money and time into their current design. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want to offend their in-house designer or the designer they used has a close relationship with the company.
All in all, what it comes down to is this: Just like no two automobiles are created equally and Coca Cola’s New Coke didn’t take off like they wanted it to, not every concept and design is created with user-psychology in mind.
User-psychology, What is This, Science?
Yes, kind of. Website design (with conversions and sales in mind) combines art and science all day long. Our nerds in the nerdy know what helps people stay on a website and what helps them be more willing to go with the flow of conversions. Here’s one major thing we consider when reviewing a website and when designing a website:
People scan websites based on their past experiences and their baked-in expectations.
What does that mean? In basic terms, it means we design based on the most common ways people look at a computer screen and here they look next.
For example, in the U.S., English-speaking people read from left to right. This dictates that your most important info should start on the left and the flow of information and desired tasks should usually go from left to right.
Oh, so my logo is super important? Yes it is, but not initially for the conversion. Instead, people have gotten so used to the general way that websites are played out that they ‘cancel out’ blank space, logos, and navigation bars in the initial seconds of landing on a website. Why? Because they have gotten used to the idea that the information they need for the task at hand is not in those common areas.
So people scanning a website at first follow their culture’s normal reading pattern and go for the point that they think is where the most meaningful information begins: the true ‘top left’ — this would be the left side, near the top of the first body container (English speakers). This mental model, therefore, is what people use: they see what they want to see, where they most expect it to be.
Now that we have knowledge of very common behavior, it becomes the job of the designer and the content team (marketing) to get the right information in that area that will encourage the flow to the desired behavior: the conversion.