5 psychology principles to increase sign-ups and purchase on your website


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Numerous studies have documented the significant financial losses incurred by businesses due to poorly designed user experiences (UX). A widely cited statistic suggests a staggering 70% of potential customers abandon a purchase or sign-up process due to frustrating UX.

To understand why users abandon online interactions and why you struggle to increase sign-ups, we must delve into the realm of psychology, the scientific study of the human mind and behavior.

Core psychological components such as:

  • Perception (how we interpret the world around us through our senses),
  • Cognition (our ability to think, learn, and problem-solve),
  • Emotion (our feelings and how they influence our decisions), and
  • Motivation (the driving force behind our actions) all fundamentally influence how users interact with digital interfaces.

For instance, perception is at play when users scan a webpage and decide if the layout is clear and easy to navigate. Cognition comes into action when users complete a form and need to remember information or follow clear instructions.

Emotions are triggered by visual design choices, error messages, and the overall user experience. Finally, motivation is influenced by factors like the perceived value of a product, the ease of completing a purchase, and the urgency created by limited-time offers.

This article will act as your guide, explaining these key psychology principles in simple terms and providing expert tips to increase sign-ups and boost your conversion rates.

Cognitive load reduction psychology

You might think giving users more choices is a good thing, but too many options can lead to decision paralysis. Hick’s law on design psychology helps point out that the amount of time it takes to make a decision is determined by the number of choices being presented. Which is to say your website should be as intuitive as possible. 

Take yourself for example. “You walk into an e-commerce store ready to buy that cool drone you have been wanting for so long, but the checkout process turns out to be as long as filing your taxes.”

Our assumption is you get bored and walk away. It’s not just you, most users are notoriously known to have very short attention spans and any excessive information can lead to them walking out of your website.

A good example of cognitive load in real-life scenarios is unwanted ad pop-ups and irrelevant information on websites, leading to distraction. It often happens that visitors forget why they came there.

The best way to minimize cognitive load is to remove all irrelevant content and images on your site or app, keep signup forms short, navigation menus focused, and your call to action button obvious and never let a user get lost or question their next step. This will ensure that users make quick decisions without distractions, allowing them to stay focused and engaged with the site.

Color psychology

Color isn’t just about making things pretty, color evokes emotions which makes it a powerful psychological tool. But before you go slapping bright red “SALE!” buttons everywhere, remember context is vital. Different colors carry different meanings.

  • Green: Often associated with action, growth, and nature – think “submit” buttons or eco-friendly products.
  • Red: Grabs attention, signifies urgency – great for limited-time offers and clearance sales. (Use with care!)
  • Blue: Conveys trust and reliability – ideal for financial institutions or tech products.

Color preferences can vary depending on factors like gender, age, and cultural background. For instance, in Western cultures, white is often associated with weddings, while red symbolizes love and passion. In China, however, red is associated with good luck and festivity, while white can symbolize mourning.

The best way to determine what works for your audience is through A/B testing. Test different color variations for buttons, backgrounds, and text to see what works best with your user base.

Your color palette should also reflect your brand’s personality and target audience. Consider Robert Plutchik’s Color Emotion Wheel as a tool to explore the emotional associations of various colors. This can be a helpful starting point for selecting colors that align with your brand message and evoke the desired emotions in your users.

Remember, aesthetics are about more than just individual colors. The overall color harmony of your website is crucial. Ensure there’s enough contrast between text and background colors for optimal readability.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with white space and explore the power of black or white as dominant elements for a sleek and sophisticated look.

Visual aesthetic psychology

The aesthetic influence of UX psychology is very precise as we can observe it in our everyday lives and in other principles of UX design. In real life, People tend to be receptive to the aesthetic because our minds have been practicing it since the day we were born.

Why? Well, it turns out that attention is drawn to more aesthetically pleasing designs that seem to compensate for any minor flaws.

Likewise, whether the client is on the site or within the app, they are more likely to float toward the most attractive and creative design style than the standard one, which has no room for originality.

In this way, the user misses the error hidden behind the mirage of UX design aesthetics. This happens to all of us. Therefore, we must understand this and implement this strategy in our main interface.

While aesthetics is important you should be careful to design accordingly as aesthetics evokes emotions. So is your brand playful? Sophisticated? Eco-conscious? Color choices, fonts, and even spacing can reinforce and influence your brand values.

You should check our the article we wrote on How to design for conversion optimization in 2024

Human behavior psychology

To increase sign-ups, you need to keep the users in mind. When creating and structuring a website, blog, or online store, you need to know human behavior and base yourself on this knowledge to make a better design. Many times it may seem like placing a web part on certain sites doesn’t make much sense to you, but it does to your users or customers.

And when designing you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, users expect website elements to be in familiar places like the shopping cart icons being in the top right corner So you need to fight the urge to be overly clever with design, as it can make your site feel less intuitive and lead to confusion.

You can also conduct user testing without the need for a fancy budget. Simply leverage your network, could be asking a friend, family member, or colleague to browse your site and provide feedback. Their perspective can be valuable in uncovering usability issues you might have missed and help identify areas for improvement in your website.

Psychology isn’t manipulation

Making the most of psychology in UI/UX design isn’t about manipulation; it’s about understanding how people think, creating a frictionless experience, and removing any unnecessary roadblocks that prevent them from taking the next desired action. By thoughtfully applying these principles, you’ll gain a significant advantage over the competition and increase sign-ups on your website.

Simply remember, data is your best friend, and knowing user psychology will make you a better designer of experiences and interfaces.

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