Persuasive web design

December 9, 2010

Principles and effects

– Opt-out works better than opt-in
> Make the default option the option that you want the user to take.
Read more:  here and see Dan Ariely’s video about decisions.

– Adding unattractive options makes other options more attractive
> Goldilocks pricing effect (also here)

Limit choice

> 10 or more makes deciding harder. Maximum 7. Depends on content type.
> Limit the number of choices to 3 or 4
Related to: Goldilocks effect and abundance of choice affects decision making

– Order effect

> Show products from most to least expensive.
Read more: here

Social validation/proof

> Add testimonials and reviews, ratings (or tweets, likes, diggs)
> Reviews work better if users can relate to the reviewer (e.g. mention age, location or occupation)
> Expert opinions work well
Read more: here and Neuro Web Design book

Give the preffered option prominence

> Promote the product (e.g. on homepage)
> Highlight the product that needs promoting (using background color, font size, ‘popular’ stickers, 3D jump-out effect) to make it stick out when presented near others
Read more: Goldilocks effect

Progress bars

Your profile is x% complete. LinkedIn Profile completeness  (empty space)


LinkedIn progress bars use completeness’ principle


I like to do what I say / said I was going to


Feedback loop: e.g. instant gratification of seeing movie recommendations while you click movies you like


> Covering your personal Skype profile photograph with an (annoying) ‘90% complete’ bar


Dashboards visualised where you can be: show empty slots/gray checkmarks , ( or shocking image?)

Empty slot example: Facebook “Your comment here” empty input field with your profile picture under every post.


Scarcity, time-limit


Visual imagery


Download/read this..for free!

Merchandising: support up-selling, cross-selling, and impulse buying.

> Provide ‘others liked’, ‘similar products’ on product detail pages
> Seduce at the right time

Read more: here (!) here , online impulse shopping

Seduce but don’t deceive
> Create trust and confidence, demonstrate value, and guide the customer through the decision-making process
> Don’t push, over-manipulate
> Don’t be deceiving (see dark patterns)
>Avoid situations where users may feel cheated
Read more: here

To be continued..

How to implement in your project

How can we leverage  {social proof}  to get …. (goal)  –

Great presentations ++

General usability still counts!

People don’t read on the web, they scan

Keep texts relevant, short and bulleted to increase the chance they will be read