Use persuasion in web design

Business Benefits

Influence your users’ behavior through your design to improve conversions.


Make sure every page is clear, understandable, and makes it easy for users to find what they want.

The first thing your users see needs to answer these questions:

  • What is this site?
  • What can I do here? Is it what I’m looking for?
  • Why should I do it? How is it useful to me?

Be specific and don’t use superlatives in your copy. Provide ample evidence to back up any claims you make.

Keep your design simple, familiar, and follow design conventions to leave a good first impression.

For example, most people have a fixed idea of what an ecommerce site should look like. Avoid innovative, unconventional layouts.

Use size and color to rank important elements like forms, calls to action, value propositions, and important links higher in your visual hierarchy based on your business objectives.

For example, Amazon uses a different color to make their call-to-action buttons more prominent.

Another example is Williams Sonoma, who use different sizes and colors to prioritize important elements in their visual hierarchy. The biggest eye catcher is the huge piece of meat (makes you want it), followed by the headline (say what it is), a call to action (get it), a descriptive paragraph under the headline, the free shipping banner, and the top navigation list:

William Sonoma homepage.

Use white space to emphasize what matters.

Relegate everything else in the visual hierarchy. For example, Made uses white space effectively to draw your attention to the products they’re selling:

Add all important information above the fold and on the left side of the screen.

The fold gets lower and lower as screen sizes and resolutions increase, so plan accordingly.

Use large, relevant product images, images of people, contrasting images, and unexpected images and copy to get users’ attention and show the value your business adds.

Stylize text, add eye paths, use visuals, break text apart, and avoid patterns to provide novelty in every screen and keep your layout interesting.

Human eyes constantly try to recognize patterns, which they ignore once identified. Spicing up layouts is critical for improved attention.

Add filters to help users narrow down their selection and make it easier for them to find the most suitable products.

For example, Wine Library’s filters do a good job of narrowing down their vast selection.

Use large product category images to make it easier for users to pick out products they like.

For instance, most ecommerce category pages look like the image below, which makes it harder for users to fall in love with a product:

The same category page would be much more effective if it looked something like this:

Hardgraft shoes.

Limit calls to action to one per screen and give enough information before presenting them to users.

Make it a priority to figure out the right time to trigger the audience. The more expensive or complex the product, the more information you need to provide before people are ready to act. Start with this principle in mind and A/B test call to action placements from there.