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Free Preview: Converting Visitors Through Persuasive Design

Welcome to the Course

  • Overview
  • Transcript

Every website has at least one “call to action”, something it wants users to do. But persuading users to act is not always easy. Why, then, do some sites seem to have more success than others?

In this short course, you'll learn the secrets of persuasive design—the key techniques that encourage people to act. You'll learn about psychological triggers, persuasive copy, and how to design a compelling call to action.

1. Introduction

1.1 Welcome to the Course

Every website has at least one call to action, something that it wants users to do, but persuading users to act is not always easy. Why then does some sites seem to have so much more success at this than others? My name's Paul Berg and I wanna share with you the secrets of persuasive design, the key techniques that encourage people to act. Join me and I will introduce you to subjects like psychological triggers, persuasive copy, and how to design a compelling call to action.

2. Persuasive Design

2.1 Applying Psychology to the Web

Hello and welcome to this course on Converting Visitors Through Persuasive Design. My name is Paul Boag. And over the next three videos, I'm gonna show you how to to create more compelling websites that encourage users to take action. This is a journey that beings by understanding a little bit about what motivates people. And to do that, we need to explore some of the basics of psychology. However, before we dive into psychology, I think it's worth taking a moment to share a word of warning. Using psychology to persuade users to take action is a dangerous game. It's perfectly possible to trick and manipulate people into doing exactly what you'd like them to do, but the long-term consequences for your business can be very serious if you do. Users who feel manipulated will inevitably suffer from buyers remorse and be left angry and frustrated. You may have made a sale, but you're gonna face a much higher cost in terms of customer service when people ring up and complain. You're also gonna have a customer base who are actively criticizing you online. And that's gonna undermine your chance for future sales. Instead, we should be seeking to nudge users to what's making a decision to purchase today. And with you rather than the competition. You see, all of us have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to making a decision, especially when it means parting with something. Whether that be money or even personal data. That is because in such as iterations we tend to respond at a very primal level. The oldest part of our brain is often referred to as the lizard brain. This part of us tends to live in a constant state of fear. It worries about the consequences of actions and particularly dislikes making decisions that have the potential to leave us worse off. The persuasive techniques that we should adopt should seek to overcome this lizard brain by enabling people to make more rational decisions and avoid procrastination. So how exactly do we achieve this? At the most basic level, we need to convince people that completing our call to action will provide them with a net gain overall. One of the best ways of doing this is to show how completing the call to action will help them fulfill one of their most basic human needs. Needs that are famously represented in something called Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a pyramid where each level builds on the one underneath. For example, at the most basic level we have all physiological needs. The need to sleep, to be healthy, to eat, to have sex. Once those needs have been met, then we move on to worrying about our safety. Things like shelter or being free from danger. A hierarchy of needs to continues to move upwards through belonging and self-esteem to self-actualisation. The last one is a little bit more confusing, it's our inherent desire to improve ourself. The desire that encourages us to go to the gym, to eat healthily, or to take up a hobby, such as learning a new language or a musical instrument. Marketers have long known our desire to fulfill these various needs is a power influencer in our decision-making process. And that if we associate a product or service with one of these needs, people are much more likely to buy it. Car advertising is a great example of this in action. For example, it's not uncommon to see car adverts featuring advertently sexual imagery. Imagery designed to appeal to our most basic physiological needs. Other brands, such as Volvo, focus heavily on safety and our desire to keep family members safe. Talking of family, other car brands focus on a sense of belonging by setting their cars within the context of family or friends. Luxury car brands focus on fulfilling our need for esteem. The focus here is showing off the driver's wealth and success. Finally, a growing number of car brands are associated with self-actualisation. Images of exploration, achievements, or self-improvement feature heavily in their advertisements. All of the same techniques are available to us as we design the construction for our websites. Ask yourself which one of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is your product or service most closely associated with and then choose, copy an imagery that reinforces that connection. But Maslow's hierarchy of needs is just the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to psychology. There are literally hundreds of quirks of human behavior that we can use to encourage potential customers to look positively on our offering. Whether that be making a purchase of a product or getting in touch or signing up for a newsletter or whatever. However, the same quirks of human behavior can just as easily prevent a user from taking action if we ignore them and don't design with them in mind. That is why it's so important to understand these nuances of human behavior. Let me give you just a few examples, examples that are both positive and negative. One characteristic of the lizard brain is that it fears scarcity. This is left over from our early ancestry where a lack of food could be an extremely serious business. We can use this particular characteristic to our advantage. For example, the website Kayak highlights limited availability to encourage us to purchase now rather than putting off the decision to later. But this fear of missing out is more than just about scarcity, it's also about a social characteristic as well. The fear that we will in some way be excluded also encourages us to take action. This fear of missing out is what causes people to check social media networks so regularly. And it could equally be applied to a huge number of different products and services. Another primal fear that we have is the fear of being out of control. Unfortunately, all too often people's online experience leaves them feeling exactly like that. One of the best things you can do to create happy, loyal customers who share positive word of mouth recommendations is to empower those customers through the digital services you provide. With control comes confidence, and with confidence is an increased likelihood users will take action. One expression of this desire for control is that users will say that they want more choice. However, interestingly too much choice often overwhelms users and leaves them with something called choice paralysis, where they end up not making a decision at all. That is why it's so important to limit the number of calls to action that we offer on our websites and ensure that each action is significantly different from the other ones. Part of the reason that we're so bad at choosing between similar options is that we're always seeking the easiest solution to a problem. This apathy is another characteristic that can be both good and bad. Although it means that we're often reluctant to complete a call to action because it involves effort, it also provides an opportunity to make a predefined action as part of our workflow. We make it as simple and straightforward as possible. And truth is, this is an incredibly powerful tool. And often, users will choose your digital product or service over the competition simply because it's easier to use. Finally, I wanted to mention the concept of framing. If you think about it, nothing in the world has intrinsic value. The only value things have are the value that we place upon them. And those values are defined by the relationship to other things. This means that when we're trying to decide whether completing a call to action is worth it, we'll be placing a value on what we will receive. A value that in turn is defined by the other options that are available to us. We could influence how somebody perceives the value of our offering by placing it within the context of other offerings. This is known as framing. Take for example a pricing table, the kind of thing you often see on websites. You will often find a basic version of a product or service at low price, but with limited features. Equally, you'll find an expensive version that's got tons of features that most people won't need. Those two options exist primarily to frame the middle option, making it look like good value for money. These companies rarely expect to sell either the cheap or expensive version, that's not their role. Their role is to make the middle option look good. As you can see, psychology plays a pivotal role in persuading people to take action. And it is a subject that I would encourage you to investigate further. In our next video, we're gonna explore how those principles of psychology can be applied to copy. The copy that we write for our calls to action. Copy that is a key component to persuading users to act, but until then, thanks for watching.