The psychology of web design (or just design in general) is actually very interested. You can increase the chances of a website visitor turning into a paying customer by several percent by implementing incredibly basic changes. Changes that mimic how we interact with people in real life. You may not even be aware of the amount of analysis and thought that can go in to placing a certain image at a certain point on any specific web page, and if the designer is doing their job, you shouldn’t be aware of this at all. One area of particular significance, when it comes to psychology of design is the use of faces. Faces give a persona touch to any design project, as people are easily able to relate to seeing a face. In this article we will go over the power of using faces on your website.
As we just stated, faces are something that we can immediately recognise. We interact with people every day and when interacting in person, their face is what we typically focus on.
But faces (especially eyes) have a great power to influence our behaviour.
Faces provide emotion, but they also provide us with subliminal queues that we naturally pick up on, and it is these queues that we can use on our websites to help increase sales.
Have you ever been speaking to someone and realised they are looking at something other than you? Or, walked down the street and noticed that more than one person seem to be looking at something in particular?
What do you do in these situations?
Your eyes scan the environment to try and find out what is so interesting to these people!
It is this basic human function that can be utilised in web design.
Straight Ahead Eye Contact
Scrolling a website and coming across an image of a face staring you directly in the eyes is confronting. It makes you stop.
Once stopped, you start to study the face that’s staring back at you and you begin to feel a sense of connection with the person in the image. It’s almost like you have their attention. Obviously, it’s an image, so it’s not possible for the image to be a captive audience, but that’s how it feels.
This type of image is used to make website visitors feel welcomed and cared for. It gives the visitor a sense of importance and makes them feel like they’re the only person who matters. Like that piece of content was created just for them.
The Individual Side Stare
There are a lot of really good examples of websites that utilise this very well, but one in particular is Seth Godins blog.
Seth has clearly taken a few headshots on himself looking off to the side and has utilised these to shift the website visitors eyes in the direction of the focus point.
You see, because faces are familiar to us, we typically notice faces before anything else. This means if there is a really important piece of content/information on your website that you really want your visitors to notice, using a face that is looking at that content is a super effective way to direct your visitors focus.
Do you like it when a group of people stand there and all stare at you at the same time? Probably not your most favourite situation to be in, is it?
Keep this in mind when using images of a group of people.
An image of a group of people staring your website visitors in the eyes is going to be confronting, so it is our suggestion to only use this type of an image if you really want to drive home a confronting message.
On the other hand, when you see a group of people staring at something else, our curiosity is peaked, and we automatically stop what we are doing to check out what’s so interesting.
This type of image is similar to the individual side stare image, but used when you really want to make sure the content is seen.