Summary: Brain triggers are very powerful functions where we process sensory information and make behavioral decisions based on it. As website owners we need to pay attention to how and why they work.
There is a really interesting brain trigger in psychology called Hick’s Law. It states that the time it takes to make a decision increases with the number of complexities and choices.
In an effort to implement brain triggers we as website owners should really fight the tendency to overcomplicate our websites with decorative elements that adds to the complexity. In most cases these things serve only to confuse our visitors.
The following are several of the more interesting and relevant brain triggers for website owners.
- Directional Cues
- Visual Cues
- Minimalistic Design
Color Activates Brain Triggers
Given that color is one of the most obvious elements on our websites and as a primary brain trigger it can literally make or break a visitor’s assessment of our website. It shapes how a visitor feels about out website.
This study reveals that 90 percent of a visitors’ first impressions are are based on color alone.
Most would agree that color is one of the easiest aspects of a webpage to “understand.” Our opinion is almost instantaneous and doesn’t require any text or explanation.
Studies show there is absolutely a connection between the use of color and how a website visitor perceives our website’s personality.
- Men’s favorite colors – blue 57%, green 14%, black 9%, red 7%, orange 5%.
- Women’s favorite colors – blue 35%, purple 23%, green 14%, red 9%, black 6%.
- Colors perceived as cheap or inexpensive – orange 26%, yellow 22%, brown 13%, red 9%, grey 8%.
How quickly do visitors form an opinion of a webpage?
As website owners we have expectations of our visitor behavior when it comes to following our cues. We want them to:
- Read our material
- Take an action
- Click our Call to Action
Without the above occurring, our websites would be totally useless. The most effective technique to improving visitor experience is with the use of directional cues.
- Pointers – arrows, triangles, and finger pointing
- Call to action buttons
Website visitors do not like to perform actions whose result they cannot predict. As website owners we simply cannot overlook directional cues. A directional cue with an attached explanation removes any mystery or ambiguity for the visitor.
Below is an example of a Directional Cue I use on the homepage of Website Psychology Optimized. It uses finger pointing, arrows, and a brief description.
There is something that every human being has in common – we are hardwired to respond to visual cues.
Two visual cues that work remarkably well are;
Arrows – Yes they’re obvious, and yes, we follow them. There is no confusion about what their intent is. Whether we are online or driving down the freeway, we have zero problem interpreting arrows.
As website owners we would be wise to use the visual cue that every human being is hardwired to follow.
Eyes – This is an extremely powerful visual cue. When we observe someone looking at something or somewhere, it registers immediately in our brain and our curiosity kicks in, we simply can’t help it.
Visuals have appeal – and without a doubt provide hooks directly into our visitors brains. To put a finer point on it, visuals have emotional appeal and our visitors make a neural connection between the image and an emotion.
It is a common mistake to over utilize brain triggers in design which typically ends up making a website appear manipulative. What works better is a well thought-out and implemented design that uses brain triggers to give visitors what they want and to persuade them to go and do what you need them to do.