By John Stevens

UX Design

The work of a web designer goes beyond just aesthetics. Usability and user experience is an equally, if not more, important part of a good web design.

While your business could probably survive with an ugly design that gets all of the UX principles right, it most certainly won’t survive with a beautiful design that breaks all of the UX principles. In this article, I explain how we can use Weber’s Law of Just Noticeable Difference, the Psychology principle of Sensory Adaptation, lessons from a recent Microsoft study as well as research on font usage, to have a more solid, conversion-optimized design:

Sensory Adaptation: The Phenomenon that Reveals What Color Converts Best

Let’s play a guessing game: what color converts best? Is it blue, green or red?

If you are like most people who have spent a good deal of time reading articles about conversion optimization, you are likely to say that it is the color red or the color orange. You might even start to bring up examples. But just pause a bit.

Amazon uses the color orange CTA button:

Facebook uses the color green CTA button:

Twitter uses the color blue CTA button:

Wait? “Green? Who doesn’t know that that color sucks for conversion?!” The fact remains that Facebook is a major brand that has spent billions on data science and conversion experience, and there’s no doubt that they know what they are doing. While Twitter, Facebook and Amazon act apparently differently, they are actually following a similar, proven Psychology principle that underlie why certain CTAs convert better than others: the Sensory Adaptation phenomenon.

In reality, there’s no best color to use for your CTA or key elements — heck, Twitter uses the white CTA color on their homepage (screenshot below).

Instead, there is a principle to follow: let your CTA stand out. A red CTA on a red design color scheme will perform worse compared to a white, blue or green CTA, and a blue CTA on a blue color scheme will perform worse compared to other colors.

In essence, the CTA that stands out the most will convert the most.

Sensory adaptation in Psychology explains our natural tendency to tune out stimulus we are familiar with after a while. That’s how we are biologically wired; once we’ve seen it for a while, we stop noticing it. A different CTA color, however, switches things up and breaks up familiarity, making you take notice. And that’s what boosts conversions.

The Microsoft Study: How Declining Attention Spans Influence Web Design

In a recent study to observe human attention span, in which it surveyed 2,000 people and monitored the brain activity of 112 more people with electroencephalograms (EEGs), Microsoft came to the conclusion that our attention span is rapidly declining. According to the study, we went from having an attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000 to having an attention span of eight seconds now.

To many web designers, …read more

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