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What Everybody Who Cares About Website Design Should Know

Have you ever wondered why some websites seem to effortlessly capture your attention, while others leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused? 

Well, it’s not just by chance. There’s a fascinating world of psychology behind web design that plays a crucial role in shaping our online experiences. 

In this article, I’ll delve into the realm of cognitive psychology and its relevance in web design, focusing on two essential aspects: perception and visual hierarchy, as well as cognitive load and simplicity.

The psychology of web design can significantly influence user behavior. Here’s a list of strategies and principles that are often used:

1. Visual Hierarchy

Okay, now picture your website as a book a really big book. Visual hierarchy is like using bold headings, bigger fonts, and page numbers in that book to guide readers to the juiciest parts.

Why is this important?

Grab Attention: Imagine you’re at a library, and one book cover stands out with bold, colorful text while others are plain. 

You’d be naturally drawn to the eye-catching one, right? On a website, you want users to notice the important stuff first.

Easy Navigation: Just like chapters in a book help you find specific information, visual hierarchy helps users navigate your website smoothly. It’s like having signposts on a hiking trail that prevent you from getting lost.

Here’s how to do it:

Headings and Subheadings: Use clear headings and subheadings to break up content. It’s like organizing your book into chapters and sections.

Color and Contrast: Make important elements stand out with colors or by using high-contrast combinations. Think of it as highlighting essential passages in your book.

Example: Take Amazon’s homepage, for instance. The search bar and prominent product categories are like the big, bold titles in a book, grabbing your attention and guiding you to what you’re looking for quickly.

2. Color Psychology: Influencing Emotions Through Colors

Colors on a website aren’t just for looks – they play a sneaky trick on our brains! They can make us feel things and even push us to take certain actions. Let’s dive into how it works and why it matters:

  • Color Emotions: Different colors trigger different feelings. For example, when you see red, it can make you feel excited or even a bit anxious. On the other hand, blue often brings a sense of calm and trust. So, if I want you to feel relaxed and comfortable on my website, I’d use more blue.

  • Action-Oriented Colors: Colors can also nudge you to take action. Ever wonder why “Buy Now” buttons are often red or orange? It’s because these colors create a sense of urgency, pushing you to click and buy faster. If you want people to click, these fiery colors are your friends.

  • Real-World Example: Look at how Amazon uses orange for its “Add to Cart” button. It stands out on the page, making you more likely to click and buy. They know that urgency-driven colors work like a charm!


3. Typography: The Unsung Hero of Website Readability

Okay, let’s talk about fonts – those letters and numbers on your screen. You might think fonts are just there to look nice, but they’re secret superheroes for making websites easy to read and understand:

  • Readability is Key: Imagine reading a book with tiny, fancy letters that are all squished together. Frustrating, right? That’s why on websites, we use fonts that are easy on the eyes. Bigger, clear fonts like Arial or Times New Roman are like a comfy sofa for your eyes.

  • Expressing Personality: Fonts also help express a website’s personality. If I want to come off as fun and friendly, I might use a playful font. But for a serious, professional vibe, I’d stick to something more classic.

  • Data Says: Here’s a nugget of data for you: A study found that when a website improved its font and layout, it boosted reading speed by up to 27%! That’s a big deal because it keeps you engaged and on the page longer.

  • Real-World Example: Take a look at the New York Times website. They use a classic, easy-to-read font because they want you to trust their news articles. It’s all about conveying reliability through typography.


4. Whitespace: Making Your Website Breathe

Imagine opening a book that’s so crammed with words that there’s barely any space between them. It would be tough to read, right? Well, websites are similar!

Whitespace, also known as “negative space,” is like the breathing room for your web content. It’s the empty space between elements like text, images, and buttons. Here’s why it’s crucial:

  • Readability: When you read a book or a web page, your eyes need some space to rest. Whitespace makes your content easier on the eyes, allowing users to absorb information more comfortably.

  • Focus: It helps users focus on what’s important. If everything is crammed together, it’s like having a cluttered room; you don’t know where to look. Whitespace directs your attention to the key elements.

  • Simplicity: Less is often more. Whitespace simplifies your design, giving it an elegant and clean look.

Did you know? According to a study by Crazy Egg, adding more whitespace around paragraphs and titles increased user attention by 20%.

Let’s take Apple’s website as an example. Their site is a masterclass in using whitespace effectively. The clean, spacious layout allows their products to shine, and it’s a big part of why Apple’s website is so appealing and user-friendly.

5. Consistency: The Trustworthy Design Friend

Imagine going to a restaurant, and every time you visit, the menu looks completely different, and the seating arrangement changes. It would be confusing and frustrating, right?

Consistency in web design is like having a dependable friend. Here’s why it matters:

  • Familiarity: When users come to your website, they want a familiar experience. Consistency in layout, colors, and navigation makes users feel at home.

  • Trust: Trust is essential online. When your website looks consistent, it gives off a professional vibe. Users are more likely to trust and engage with a site that appears reliable.

  • User Experience: A consistent design makes it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. If your “Contact Us” button is at the top of the page on one page and at the bottom on another, users might get frustrated.


One great example of consistency is the Coca-Cola website. Whether you’re on their homepage, product pages, or blog, you’ll notice a consistent use of their signature red and white colors and logo placement. This creates a cohesive and trustworthy brand experience for visitors.

Incorporating whitespace and consistency into your website design can go a long way in enhancing the user experience and building trust with your audience. 

Remember, in the world of web design, less can often be more, and a familiar design is a friendly design.