“Straight in at number 5…”
5. Help your users look forward to the finish
Studies show that we are more motivated to continue or complete a task when looking at what is left to do, rather than what we have already done. Consider bounce rate or exit levels from your site. Why do so many visitors to your site abandon their cart during the checkout process? By introducing a visual representation of progress, you can help users understand how many more steps there are before they achieve their goal. Even better, it clearly shows the end is in sight for a sprint-finish!
4. Be your users’ friend
Here you’re applying the rules of social interaction to online interaction. If you turned up at your friend’s house party, you’d probably knock on the door, greet them with a smile and then maybe go in for a high five. If they took ages to answer the door, didn’t look at you when they finally got there and then (gasp!) left you hanging, you’d probably feel uncomfortable and start to regret bothering to bring that token bottle of wine. Similarly, if a site is slow to load or doesn’t remember all your information when you sign in, it’s like an old friend forgetting you’ve ever met. And it hurts.
3. Happy people try new things
Marieke De Vries (2010) concluded that in times of sadness or fear, we gravitate towards the familiar. Going with what we know makes us feel safe: we trust what is familiar as we know what to expect and we know how it will make us feel. If we’re feeling happy, however, we are far more likely to take a risk and try something new. If you consider this in terms of branding, perhaps if a person feels low, they will buy what they know? They will be more inclined to purchase familiar products rather than have a go at something new? Having said that, brands that introduce happy images and encourage positive feelings could persuade users to try the product for the first time – check out the little smiler apple’s using:
2. Pobody’s Nerfect
People make mistakes: inevitably, errors will occur when people are visiting your site. The trick is to anticipate these errors or identify them during user testing. Mistakes with negative consequences – such as a user disabling their account after trying to log in using an email address rather than a username – can frustrate or anger a user. E.g. many sites ask for a username rather than an email address, whereas some users may prefer to enter their email address rather than have to remember a multitude of usernames and passwords. Depending on the circumstances, they could then go on to look for a competitor, hoping to find an improved experience. Other mistakes, like clicking the wrong link and having to “go back”, have no real consequence and cause little to no inconvenience at all. In this instance, it’s likely the user will continue without frustration.
1. Users want to make informed decisions, or at least they think they do
We’ve all heard the phrase “knowledge is power”. Knowing we have a choice, knowing what our choices are and knowing we must make a choice encourages the feeling of being in control. Offering a user alternate paths when completing a task gives the illusion of choice, despite the actual goal being the same, allowing them to enjoy the feeling of being in control. By providing customer reviews and expert ratings, you give the user more information, (more knowledge, more power) while subtly persuading them to take a certain path. Everyone is subconsciously affected by the opinions of others, though they will vehemently deny it.