Guiding users with design (part 2) — DAY 32

As described in the last post, this series of articles will talk about how to guide users adopting some design techniques. We’ll keep talking about how people tend to think and how to trigger determined behaviors.


People and users tend to obey directions coming from authorities without major questions. This technique have been used by media companies for a long time, associating celebrities to brands in order to persuade consumers. But how it can also be explored by UX designers? Building trustability by establishing the organization or the product as a reference for the users. It can be made in the visual plan, for example, by showing positive statistics, or just displaying testimonials from recognized clients in the page. Figuring out what to use as reference, where to place it in the website, how the get users’ attention, and how they will interact with it are some of the challenges faced by UX designers when defining how to take advantage of this technique.

Faith in aesthetics

Even though it sounds very superficial, some researches prove that users are very sensitive for the appearance of products, and often judge them even before check the content itself. It means that making your website looking good is an effective way to make your user trust your product at first. Users also often describe more attractive website as easier to use, so it can be a very good way to make users spend more time navigating, as well. Humans usually take few seconds to decide if they are going to trust or not in a product or in a website, so as an UX designer you better make sure you will use all your tools to make your user trust you.


People are headed for results, achievements and success, and are also very likely to compare themselves with others to show they are doing good. This is a very interesting technique, very close to the concept of gamification, and often adopted to motivate and engage users in webpages. The way UX designers explore these characteristics to engage users is by creating solutions based on rankings and comparisons between themselves (friends, or not). Websites usually challenge users, assign some achievable goals, and let them do the rest. Nowadays, with social medias, this is also a very good way to promote the website itself.

Zeigarnik effect

This psychology effect is related to how people handle with uncompleted tasks. This study says that people are more likely to remember details about uncompleted tasks than about completed ones, and UX designers can explore this feeling by giving tasks and making users come back to finish it later. People like it, they like to complete things and they celebrate it. A widely adoption of this technique in websites is when they display percentages of completion. For example, when you need to complete your profile and you see that you have got only 70% of it. People tend to keep it in mind “I need to finish it”, making it persistent even after they leave the website. People like to reach the 100%, so by triggering the desire of finishing is a very strong and useful way to create engagement. Even though this is a very useful technique, UX designers, specially, have to be aware about how users are perceiving it, as they must feel motivated and believe they can achieve it. Otherwise it will just trigger the opposite effect: demotivation.

Successful products are usually based in proven patterns, or patterns that were tested and iterated. In this article we described four more techniques to help you on guiding users through design, and in the next post, the last of the series, we will introduce the last three ones!


Roberto Pesce —

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