“Good design is good business."
Tom Watson, IBM
Think about something you love; something that keeps you coming back for more. Maybe something you own that you would buy time and time again. Whether it’s your favorite clothing line in your closet, the favorite car in your garage or even the type of phone in your pocket - chances are the reasons you chose to bring these objects into your life isn’t because they are simply a superior product to others.
The pull that objects create on us typically isn’t solely based on a pros and cons comparison table or a features list you read on a brochure. Usually it’s a complex dance of experience and emotion that we feel when we use these products. The feeling of how we look in our favorite jeans outweighs the quality of cotton that was used to stitch the denim together.
Now think about where you purchased those items from. With the rapidly ever-changing digital world we live in, there’s a good chance you purchased some of those items online, or at least commissioned a website to help you understand these products better before making a decision.
Where did you go to buy?
Where did you go to research?
Which websites gave you the feeling that they were worth your trust?
Now, think of the reasons those websites won your trust. Was it because of their best price? Maybe. Was it because this website’s operators were better people than their competitors? Maybe. Was it because the website showed up first on Google? Maybe. Many of these factors contribute to our decision making process, but more than likely the tipping point for you to choose these websites was probably based more on the experience and the emotions you felt when you visited.
Emotional Engagement in Website Design
At Speak, we believe emotional engagement is one of the single most powerful driving forces that keeps us connected with almost everything in the world around us, including how we experience a website. When a visitor lands on your website, there are many assumptions that are made within moments of the browser loading that final pixel. Most of those assumptions are purely based on the emotional response to the design and experience. If that emotion is positive, you’ll have a visitor coming back for more and more, time and time again.
So how do we approach emotional design and what are the keys to unlocking a positive experience for your visitors? We believe we can help shed some light on how you can take your next web project and create an emotional experience that users will fall in love with.
At Speak Creative we work with a variety of industries. From cupcake bakeries to cruise ship tours, we’ve been approached by countless industries to help them make a dent in their industry. Although we may not be experts at the perfect cupcake recipe, we still provide huge wins for our clients at every turn.
Cupcakes and cruise ships have one really important element in common: humans. At the heart of every industry lies the same common gold standard for success. They need to provide something for people to fall in love with. We challenge our clients to feel the same way when thinking about their website. We desperately challenge you to approach every facet of your project with the mindset that you are not just building a website, but a human to human interaction to help people fall in love with who you are.
Use emotionally rich imagery
One of the single most important elements in web design is imagery. Large, high quality, emotional photos are something the human eyes cannot look away from. Part of this is just our genetic hardwiring, but large engaging photography also creates an experience that allows people to feel like they are interacting with more than just a machine. The right imagery can create an experience that allows people to feel like there is a human on the other side of the screen.
If you are considering your next website redesign, we encourage you to review your photography assets. If there’s not an emotional connection with the library you have, a photo shoot or a consideration of high quality stock photography can take your website to the next level.
- High quality
Make sure your photos are high quality (sized quite large and with good resolution). Small photos can’t be expanded and low resolution will develop distrust with your visitors. Take it seriously and let your web team help you develop a library of assets.
- Include human elements
Make sure to include photos of actual human beings. People love looking at other people. Human eyes love it so much they actually dilate when we see other humans to allow more information in.
- Including photos of people using your product or service
It’s a consistent fact for marketers everywhere. If you can demonstrate people using your product it will have a hugely emotional impact. It’s so hugely important for people to experience it that we sometimes take it for granted. Ever wonder why perfume commercials are so strange? They understand how important it is to show people, but they can’t show people using the product easily. The alternative is to evoke emotions of people leading the lifestyle associated with how the perfume should make you feel.
- Budget for a photo shoot
Don’t be afraid to expand your budget to include a fresh photo shoot in your website redesign. The investment is more than worth it. The experience your visitors will have is going to stick with them weeks after they’ve visited.
Write conversational copy
How would you introduce yourself to someone? Or better yet, if someone walked into your store and said “hi” would you respond with your mission statement? Of course not. But often that’s one of the first elements of copy that we see people asking for. Prominent mission statements that can drown your visitor in boredom need to be forgotten about. Remember that your visitors are real people. Humans that are looking for something to excite them and give them an emotional response to stick around. They want to give you their trust, but you need to tell them why you deserve it.
- Be conversational with your copy
Always remember that you are talking to human beings. Feel free to be casual, even witty.
- Features tell, benefits sell
No one needs to know the features of the product or service you are offering. What they really crave is for you to tell them how it benefits them. Benefits are an emotional trigger to let people know that their lives will be easier if they use your product or service.
- Structure your information well.
People browse websites in an F pattern - from top left to top right and narrowing down to the bottom left as they scroll. Consider how people will digest your copy and how it reads as they scroll down the page.
- Hire a copywriter
Copy is fairly cheap when you consider how much it can affect the trust of your visitors. Don’t scratch it off your list. It’s an art form that has only been mastered by few.
Take design seriously
Take your design seriously. Lean on the experts to help you navigate this realm and try not to leave it largely to opinion. When you take design seriously, there are some amazing things that can happen. Let’s take a look at Apple. Steve Jobs took design so seriously it has changed the industry for almost all technology. They didn’t just take it seriously with aesthetics, they built emotional connections into their products to help humans relate. Did you know the sleep indicator light of Apple products mimic the pattern of human breathing?
They knew human emotion played a huge role in how we connect to objects. We challenge you to take your design seriously and find a web design company that has a beautiful portfolio of emotionally engaging works.
- Develop intuitive navigation and layouts
The artform of user experience design is a complicated field. Understanding user habits, user intentions, patterns for success and how people will respond to colors and shapes requires a lot of dedication to understanding not only data points, but also humans. A good web design team should be able to walk you through best practices and how you should approach this.
- Stay up to date
A good design firm will push your design to be a bit more modern than you may be comfortable with. Keeping up with trends, understanding mobile device patterns and approaching your design with a future proof mindset can be extremely healthy for your business.
- Let the creatives guide you
When it comes to art direction and aesthetics, we encourage you to lean on the designers you’ve hired to build you a beautiful experience. Sometimes there’s power in bringing in a consultant who isn’t as close to the product or service as an internal person is. Find peace in the fact that you chose this design firm because their portfolio was beautiful and they do good work.
- Understand Good Design
There is true good design and bad design. Good design is often innovative. Good design should have purpose. Good design is consistent. Good design is sometimes as little design as possible.
There’s a term in psychology called “positive valence”...
Positive valence is when you have a positive experience when interacting with something. Driving a Mercedes-Benz for example can give you positive valence. It’s been shown that positive valence actually helps people solve problems quicker and sometimes even find shortcuts when looking for solutions. When you take design seriously and you blend together some of the most important elements to develop emotional design, giving someone a positive emotional experience is going to help push your business further. You’ll connect with your customers, build trust in their minds, help them solve problems, and ultimately find people who fall in love with your brand. It doesn’t matter if your business isn’t an exciting product like an iPhone or Mercedes Benz. Even the most mundane transactions can be turned into memorable experiences if you know how to design them correctly.
Let your website be the first touch point for people to fall in love with your brand.
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