The design psychology made in your web design can make or break its success.

It is suggested that 94 percent of users don’t trust websites that are poorly designed and don’t follow web design principles. Many design elements work on a user’s subconscious level, helping them to perceive things without conscious thought.

So let’s take a look at the 7 most common psychological web design mistakes.

The colour scheme

Colours can influence how we perceive design elements so choosing the right colors to represent your site is essential if you want to make an excellent first impression.

Unsuitable Colour Scheme

On the other hand, using colours that don’t match your message can have the opposite effect.

Here are a few examples of how users perceive colors:

A Poor Typeface

When considering which font to use, psychological factors may be dismissed and the focus will be on the design aspect instead. Similar to colours, however, fonts also send subconscious signals to users. If you don’t have a strict guideline on which font to use, picking one based on the psychological aspects is the safest route.

Combining different fonts isn’t a good idea, either — this can lead to a poor design:

Web design psychological principles - poor typeface

A Slow Site

We’ve all experienced sites that take forever to load. According to Google’s research, users are 32 percent more likely to leave your website if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load. 

A good starting point for a site’s performance is to choose a reliable web hosting service with a decent load time.

Once you have a solid foundation, you can move on to compress the frontend elements of your site, making them faster to load.

Start by removing unnecessary code from your site, either manually or by using a code minifier. It’s also a good idea to compress images and remove unnecessary information from their files.

To find out the speed of your site we use two tools, either Ubersuggest or GTmetrix

Web design psychological principles - page speed

A Complex Layout

If your home page is disorganised and cluttered and the structure doesn’t make sense, visitors will likely leave.

An organised layout is pleasing and works on a subconscious level.

When designing a site’s layout, keep in mind that people tend to scan in a Z-style pattern.

Put your logo in the far left then contact details far right.

Underneath the header is a full-width image with a benefit-driven headline and CTA’s aligned left. Followed by a value stack of three items that you bring as value to your customer.

Below is a good example.

Web design psychological principles - good design


Sorry but a messy, information-filled webpage discourages visitors.

It just becomes so overwhelming with an entire screen full of visual elements or a wall of text.

If your design elements are all over the place then the perception that the components near each other are related doesn’t come into effect, resulting in even more confusion.

An uncluttered approach is why many sites have moved toward a more minimalistic approach.

Web design psychological principles - clutter

Multiple CTAs

You might think that the more options your users have, the more likely they’ll find a suitable one.

However, giving people multiple choices can create a choice overload, so instead of choosing the most suitable option, they might not choose one at all.

Elements that look like banners

Users have learned to ignore content that is near ads, resembles ads, or appears in locations traditionally dedicated to ads. The most typical case is designing a call to action with a frame around it, which instantly looks like an advertisement.

Also, typical locations where your content can be perceived as an ad is on the right-hand column and in-between content (again, most likely surrounded by a frame).

Long story short, avoid designing your site’s elements to look like ads, or your visitors will ignore them.

In conclusion

A few key psychological principles can help avoid common web design mistakes. Following a few simple rules can help create a design that achieves higher conversion and a better user experience.

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