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Behavioral Science Behind the Web User Experience

– Contributed content –

Brain hemispheres graphic

(Pixabay)

2 May 2019. User experience is a very important concept in business. When you’re creating an app or a website for your business, you always need to consider how easy it is for your customers to navigate and find the information that they need. People don’t have that much patience when they’re looking at a website and if it takes more than a few minutes to find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to give up and go elsewhere.

That’s why it’s so important that you build a website with user experience in mind, but a lot of people don’t really know how to do that. There are some simple things like loading times and menu navigation that you need to consider, but if you really want to improve your user experience, you need to think about the behavioral science behind it.

Understanding how people think and behave when they’re navigating websites and apps will help you to make every aspect of the experience easier for them. You can direct people toward the relevant pages immediately and that means you’re more likely to convert those visitors into customers. These are some of the most important aspects of behavioural science that you need to apply to your website if you want to improve the user experience.

Know your customers

Knowing who your customers are and what makes them tick is the first step toward good user experience. Different demographics respond well to different things so it’s important that you tailor your experience to your target market. The best way to do this is to seek the advice of user experience experts like Praxent. They will be able to incorporate market research about your customer base into every stage of the design to improve the user experience.

A sense of control

When people are browsing a website, they want to feel as if they are in control of the experience, rather than being forced in a certain direction by the creator of the website. If you take away that sense of control, users will respond negatively. One common example of this is a video that plays automatically as soon as the site opens. On a social media site where people are looking for video content, it’s not too much of a problem. But on your business website, it has a negative impact on the user because the information in that video might not necessarily be what they’re looking for.  Push notifications are another example of stripping control from the user so you should avoid those too.

The F-pattern

Most people scan a web page in an F formation. They’ll look at the top line of the site and then scan vertically down until they find the information that they’re looking for, then they’ll scan across horizontally to take that information in. You should design your site with this in mind, that’s why most people put their logo in the top left corner. Then you can put the main points of interest down the left hand side of the page.

Recognition not recall

The difference between recognition and recall is very important in user experience. If somebody asked you ‘which company makes the Kindle?’ and ‘Does Amazon make the Kindle?’ it’s easier to answer the second question. That’s because you’re recognizing information that is presented to you, rather than trying to recall it yourself. You should consider this when you’re designing your website because it really improves the user experience. A good example of this is the browsing history on e-commerce sites. If you were looking at some products a few days ago and then you go back onto the site to have another look, you might not remember exactly what you were searching. But if you’re presented with a list of previously viewed products, you’ll easily be able to pick out the one that you were interested in.

Giving your users information that they can recognize rather than trying to make them recall it for themselves will make it so much easier for them to find what they’re looking for which massively improves the user experience.

Hick’s law

Hick’s law states that response time increases with the number of options that are available. So, the more options on a menu, the longer users will take to decide which page they want to visit. If you have one menu with all of the options on, the website will become cumbersome. It’s far better to break it down into stages so it’s simpler for people to navigate.

If you can incorporate these behavioral patterns into your user experience, your website or app will be a lot more successful.

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