Web Design and the Decision Making Process: How to Use Psychology to Growth Hack Your UX

Amazing web design lies at the intersection of user experience and aesthetics. Sure, you want your website to look killer (who doesn’t!?) But, you also want to make sure that your customers are able to easily browse, interact, and consume your site.


Web Design and the Decision Making Process: How to Use Psychology to Growth Hack Your UX

Amazing web design lies at the intersection of user experience and aesthetics. Sure, you want your website to look killer (who doesn’t!?) But, you also want to make sure that your customers are able to easily browse, interact, and consume your site.

The friction that lies between these two spaces is the decision making process. Why are your customers clicking your About Us page? How do you drive more customers to your product pages? How can you influence customers to successfully make a purchase?

That’s what we’re going to talk about today! This is the science of decision making as it applies to web design. Here’s how you can leverage human psychology to deliver a superior browsing experience.

What in the World is “The Decision Making Process?”

The decision-making process is all of the steps involved in making a decision. Sounds simple enough right? Well, sort of. Making a decision is actually a relatively complicated procedure.

First, we need to clarify; decisions are made both consciously and subconsciously. In fact, our subconscious brain (a.k.a our stupid brain) makes decisions in milliseconds — in the Subthalamic nucleus. But, for the purposes of this post, we’re going to pretty much ignore that fact. Well, not ignore it, but we’re not going to leverage it to create any actionable web design. Why? Humans are a lot smarter than their subconscious firing.

True decision making (the kind that’s not just instant neuron firing) follows a 7-step process. This is the sort of decision making that we can get actionable with. When you go to a store, and you’re trying to figure out what kind of bread you need, this is what your brain is doing.

Here are the 7 steps:
1.Identify a decision
2.Gather information
3.Identify alternatives
4.Weight the evidence
5.Choose alternatives
6.Take action
7.Review that decision

Identify a Decision

This is the first step in the decision-making process. You realize that you need to make a decision. When prospects first land on your website, the first thing they’re going to notice is your UI and design. What buttons should they click? Where should they navigate to? Should they search something using the search box or is it clearly labeled in the UI? ????

Before customers can make a decision, they need to know that there’s a decision to make! If your UI is cluttered, you’re going to frustrate the customer’s decision making processes. In fact, 52% of shoppers think that current websites have an overwhelming amount UI.

We aren’t telling you that you to keep your nav bar to two options. On the contrary, we’re telling you to organize your nav bar better. It doesn’t matter how many options are on your nav bar if they are all in an intuitive place. If you shove shopping under a nav bar tab called “look at stuff” or some kind of punny word, you might risk confusing the customer.

How do you know if your website gives customers a clear path to all of their decisions? Well, think about it! Pretend your a customer looking at your site for the first time. Are all of your options clearly defined and laid out? Does your website guide the customer or does your customer guide your website?

Give your customers some guidance! Every option should be clearly defined, and your UI should be simple, minimal, and easy-to-use.

Gather Information

Next, people gather information about their decision. Typically, this involves external and internal sources. At the grocery store, you check the nutrition label on that bread, look at the price, and then jump on your smartphone to check out some reviews. When it comes to web design. You want to give them everything that they’re looking for in the same place — your website!

Sure, those t-shirts you’re selling are amazing, but, are they 100% cotton? Do other people like them? Let them know the answers to both of those questions! Give them a blog filled with rich content that helps answer their more nuanced questions, and leverage on-site customer reviews and accurate, detailed product information to answer the broad questions.

You want to be the one-stop-information shop. 87% of customers think that brands should offer them a seamless experience! Be the customer’s data concierge. Answer all of their questions! And, of course, make sure that they can easily find those answers. Clearly label your blog, throw in a search function, plaster reviews on your product pages, and make sure that everything you carry has easily accessible descriptions. Or, if you’re offering a B2B service, make sure that there are plenty of product videos, how-to’s, and blog posts detailing exactly how your service works.

Don’t let the customer get their information elsewhere. We all know how that ends! That ends with your competitor’s not-so-unbiased blog smearing you and giving the customer a trail of breadcrumbs to their products. Speaking of your competitors…

Identify Alternatives

If you’re shopping for a product or service, do you just buy the first thing you see? Probably not. People want to know what their alternatives are! In fact, 46% of shoppers want eCommerce sites to give them more product comparisons! Customers want to know that they’re picking the best product possible.

So, your website should give them those alternatives. Whether that means including a comparison tool or simply ensuring that customers can easily browse alternative products in the same category easily, make sure that you give people the power of choice.

On the B2B side, this means providing customers with pros and cons, explainer videos, and blog posts that give customers options. You may have different pricing tiers, or you may even want to throw in some blogs about “Our product vs. Our competitor’s product”. Remember, embedded videos, blog content, and intuitive browsing are all part of the web design process.

Make everything accessible, simple, and accurate. Let your customers know that you understand that there are alternatives, then give them the means to find those alternatives! Just make sure that they can get those alternatives from you.

Weight the Evidence

Did you know that making a decision is both rational and emotional? Use that! This is where branding is crucial. Seriously! Good branding can push prospects straight into customers. It’s the water slide in your marketing funnel. Keeping your website on-brand is the single best way to tug at those emotional decision-making strings.

It’s hard to accurately define branding as it pertains to web design. Because, well, branding is different for everyone. Your brand is who you are, and what your company means to you and your customers. It’s the thing that separates you and makes your business unique.

Branding your site is definitely when you should be reaching out to web design professionals, sitting down with them, and letting them know who you are and how that should be reflected. If they know what they’re doing, it will all fall into place.

Look, you don’t need to see the McDonalds arch to know that you’re on McDonald’s website. The color palette gives it away. If Coca-Cola can brand their way into owning Christmas, you can surely brand your way into owning your site.

Leverage typography, UI, UX, colors, and quirky micro-interactions to create an experience that screams you. Tug at those heartstrings.

Of course, the rational side is easier. Keep supplying them with tons of content. A 20% increasein the simplifaction of the decision-making process leads to a 96% higher purchase possibility for customers.

Choose Alternatives

This is the “I want that one!” stage. Once customers get here, the real challenge begins. Oh, no, no, no! It’s not over yet! You’ve still got work to do. If you followed all of the steps up until now, your customers going to choose your business. They’ve consumed your content, found everything that they needed quickly, are engaged by your branding, and they see how great your product is. Now you just have to get them to pull-the-trigger.

For eCommerce brands, this is where things get serious. Cart abandonment rates are at 75%. That means 3/4 of all of your would-be purchases are getting left-to-rot during this phase in the decision-making process. Believe it or not, you can cut that rate way down using smart web design.

Here are 4 simple web design hacks that will reduce those abandons:

Don’t make customer register for an account! 37%* of customers say that they abandon their carts because a website forces them to sign up. Again, it’s all about ease-of-use. Customers want to get in-and-out once they’re ready to purchase. They’ve already almost gone through the whole decision-making process. Cut them some slack.

Give them visible indicators of progress. Let customers know where they’re at in the purchasing process and what’s left. A simple bar on the bottom of the page or some text that says “Next, you’ve got to confirm you’re shipping address and then we’ll get it sent out to you and you’re done!” works as well.

Shorten the checkout process. There’s a time and place for upsells; the checkout process isn’t one of them. 28%* of customers leave their carts because the checkout process is too long.

Let them know they can trust you. 19%* of customers leave their carts because they don’t trust the business with their data. Let them know that they can trust you through smart web design. When they get to the “insert card info” page, shoot a pop-up on the bottom that says “Don’t worry, all of your data is secured via xxx encryption.”

* Source: Baymard

Take Action

This is it. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The customer has made the purchase! Yes! It’s finally over, right? Nope! Nice try. Now it’s time to make sure that your customer comes back. How? With web design of course.

Make sure that your post-purchase experience is just as good as your purchase experience. Keep your blog saturated with organic content, create real value adding videos, give customers tons of free value that they don’t expect.

Leverage your website as your brand ambassador. You want that customer back in the door as soon as possible. Did you know that customers who continue to support your brand over time will spend 67% more than new customers?

Use your website to give them value beyond the purchase. There are a ton of ways to do this, and you’re going to have to put your thinking cap on and get scrappy. Your brand should guide you through this part. Do you sell cameras? Great! Create a website section where users can submit content. Do you sell shoes? Awesome! Make sure that your website guides customers to your Instagram page where they can share their pictures of your fresh kicks.

Review the Decision

This is the final step in the process. The customer is ready to decide if their decision was a good one. If you’ve done everything right so far, it should be. But, just to be safe, make sure that the customer has an outlet to voice concerns. Can your customer find your support button easily? We hope so! 71% of customers expect help within 5 minutes. Can the customer easily contact you via a “contact us button”? Good! 83% of shopper need help during their shopping experience.

Remember, it should be easy to reach you post-purchase. 53% of customer listed fast resolutions as their top purchasing demand.

Final Thoughts

When you design your website, you need to look beyond the aesthetics. Make sure that your website predicts customer issues. Use the decision-making process to guide your design.

Customers want more than a pretty face.

Are you looking for some web designers who can help you create an amazing branded website that’s intuitive, easy-to-browse, and filled with all of the things that make your business great? Contact us.