Have you ever wondered why you like buying from a particular website when other sites are selling the same stuff at the same price? Or ever find yourself clicking on an app without contemplating? The answer is psychology. In this post, we’ll look at the techniques to use persuasion-psychology into UI design so as to generate better online experience for your customers.
“More is the certainty of something happening, more activity users will produce.” A perfect example of this saying is Facebook. Have you noticed that while scrolling into the abyss of your profile, you are rewarded only sometimes? The infinite scroll seems more like a slot machine that prints cards to access the unpredictable accolades. Let’s dig deeper into it with the help of a research conducted on variable rewards by B.F Skinner, a pioneer of modern behaviorism.
In his book ‘The Behavior of Organisms’, he has mentioned how a mice’s behavior changes when he is given a variable reward. During the experiment, a mice which received variable rewards was seen pressing the lever more compulsively than other rats which received the same gift every time. If this study tells us anything, in particular, is that a person’s behavior depends on two things: if he/she can get a reward for his/her activity, and how soon they anticipate an accolade to be given.
Application of These Learnings to User Interface:
1) Easy availability of a solution is important to customers. So, ensure your products, services or whatever you are selling is available quickly on your platform.
2) Use rewards like redeemable points, new features, discounts, reputation, status, praises, etc., but make sure each customer doesn’t get the same reward, not unless he has scrolled your website for the 10th time.
Undersupplied Products Sell More!
Something that is scarce is of more value, and even more desirable—a technique used by many online and offline sellers. Ever came across a board or a banner that reads, “Sold 90%, only 10% remaining” or “Booked 30 times in the last 12 hours”. Undersupply of a product triggers our brains to perceive it as highly worthy, which eventually impacts our purchasing-decision. Even in earlier days, scarcity was used in encouraging the buying behaviors of people. It creates the sense of urgency in the users’ brains.
Important Note: Scarcity principle works only when enough desire is provoked for a particular product or service, which can be done by providing variable rewards, and other gifts valuable to the customers.
Applying Scarcity Principle to UI:
1) Create desire or intent-to-purchase in a user’s mind by providing that ‘extra’ to the customers.
2) Showcase your product’s scarce availability clearly by highlighting it, and by limiting the durations, resources, and intervals so that a user doesn’t value anything over the scarce-product.
Commitment Becomes Responsibility!
There is a simple psychological trick to persuade someone to complete an action of your desire—foot in the door. In simple terms, do something for them prior to making a request! This technique includes a small request that sets you up to get in compliance with a larger, subsequent request.
Linkedin uses this technique. It sets you up by offering a month free of premium services. As soon as you try “try premium free”, you somewhat, unintentionally commit yourself with their product. Because you would want to stay consistent with your past activities and beliefs, you are more likely to buy their premium services once the “one-month free” period gets over.
Imp note: Some variables can impact the buying-decisions, like if customers don’t have the money or they forget.
How to Apply it on Your UI?
1) First, provide your users something to agree on easily, which will increase the chance of agreeing on something bigger down the track.
2) Ask for small commitments, and make them easy for your users to purchase in small but early. It’ll encourage your users to buy in bigger but later.
Divestiture Aversion—Ownership Effect in Social Psychology!
It’s humans’ nature that we tend to put more value on the things we own over the objects we don’t. Instead of possessing, we feel like owning. In an article Ziv Carmon and Dan Ariely, it’s mentioned that humans’ while making decisions tend to ignore the difference between the subjective and factual feelings of ownership. Their brains trick them into thinking the two corresponds closely.
Madinaharabic.com does a great job by being unorthodox in their approach to getting started. If you look at the screen below, they have an option of starting the course without signing up for it. Doesn’t it make you look like a member; though you are not? They do that for a purpose—they are aware of human brains that you WILL consider possession as ownership. There are researches proving that!
Here’s How You Can Include This Technique Into Your UI:
1) Figure out ways to allow your users to use your services for a limited period of time before signing them up.
2) Let them feel like they own their product—give away free trials or give them free PDFs of the information they are looking for.
Humans’ brains are designed in such a way that they interpret information in the above-mentioned ways. However, we don’t always act according to these psychological insights. While most of you will find these techniques valuable, some of you will find them fruitless. It’s human brain. It makes us predictably irrational!
Ranjit Singh is the founder of RV Technologies, a Software Development & Digital Transformation organisation. He, at times, authors in-depth guides that teach marketing managers to manage, grow and scale their marketing techniques.