How Heuristic Behaviours Influence the way visitors use your website.

Business Strategy UX Reading Time: 4 minutes

When you own a business, and you invest in a new website, you generally have three goals that you want to achieve to evaluate the decision on whether it’s a good idea or not to change your current website/marketing strategy. 

Usually, you want it to a) get you more engagement, b) get you more leads and c) grow your business through selling more of your product or service.

What you may not realise is that every single website around uses techniques and behavioural design that taps into natural human traits and heuristic behaviours that make you buy more or interact with it faster and more efficiently. 

In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about heuristic behaviours and cognitive biases, what they actually mean and how to add them to your website. 

When you purchase a website with Damteq, every website is meticulously planned with heuristic human behaviours being thought of during the whole design and build phase. 

So, what even is a heuristic behaviour?

A Heuristic is a ‘rule of thumb’, or you could say a mental shortcut, that helps guide our day-to-day decisions. 

Heuristic behaviours are natural human traits that every single person on earth can relate to. They are generally subconscious rules that help people make decisions, alter opinions or allow you to prompt an action.

As designers and business owners we can use these heuristic behaviours to unpick ways of improving user experience to encourage our visitors to convert more efficiently, helping to speed up decision-making processes and lead to better, more reliable conversions.

There are over 100 heuristic behaviours and cognitive biases that we use in UX and design. We’ll cover a few here! 

The Awareness Heuristic

The awareness heuristic can make our decision-making process faster by making you believe the story you’ve heard the most. This can be a positive or a negative based on the situation or range of choices that you’re faced with. 

For example, imagine you’re about to book a holiday, but you remember a piece of news that you saw about a plane crash that recently killed 320 people. Your mind has subconsciously made a shortcut to this and has prompted you to believe that because you heard this news, that flying is a really unsafe mode of transport. This makes you quickly decide that you’d rather go on a cruise instead and avoid the plane completely.

It was the headline you read and a picture of a burning plane that made you draw a conclusion that it’s a REALLY unsafe way to travel. 

This is a completely incorrect assumptive conclusion.

The availability heuristic has serious consequences in life, both professionally and at home. It will even affect your website and your brand. People base decisions on what they hear most. 

We’ve all seen it when a journalist writes a really powerful headline about something, and then you read the article and it’s completely watered down. This is their way of tapping into the awareness heuristic.

How this relates to your website and user experience:

  • People scan your copy. People don’t read everything anymore. Keep your content concise, human and conversational. Use key headlines. 
  • With your content, focus your headlines around proving the problem that your business solves. (More people will take action when they read ‘Get food delivered faster’ over ‘fast food delivered online)
  • Give your users prompt positive feedback when they take action that is conversational (Things like ‘Well done, just one more step to go’)
  • Cut out useless elements in your design. Keep design minimal and consistent.
  • Gamification can help the awareness heuristic
  • Use social proofing on your site to prompt action (125 PEOPLE RECENTLY PURCHASED!)

Every single piece of poor copy, design or message on your website dilutes the important and relevant ones, so it’s really important that when you want to grow your business using your website you consider the user journey and how people actually interact with it. 

The Affect Heuristic

We’d argue that the Affect Heuristic is one of the most important behaviours to acknowledge when building your business and brand. 

You will hear a lot of design agencies say this:

‘Your logo is just not your brand, it’s an icon. Your brand is the way you make someone feel and the emotion that it invokes.’

The Affect Heuristic is how words whether positive or negative guide decision-making and behaviours.

As a people-first company, we use the Affect Heuristic every day. Just last week we had an old client come back to Damteq after a year. We didn’t write an email with loads of formalities, and when we met, when they walked in we said “Welcome Home

Home << This invokes an emotion like no other. It means comfort, love, and happiness.

Just using that one word made that client feel at ease and loved. It made them feel special. 

Emotional design and copy can turn a cold visitor from a casual user to someone who falls in love with your business, product or service.

How this relates to your website and user experience:

  • Always use positive words throughout your copy. 
  • Don’t be too stuffy. No one cares about stuffy content.
  • Always be yourself and consider simplifying your cluttered website by introducing a clean user journey with 1 message per page and heading
  • Discover ways to invoke emotion in your use of imagery and colours

When you’re looking to grow your business through design, you need a development company to consider every element of UX and how humans make decisions. 

We will make over 32,000 micro-decisions every day, and you can increase the number of engagements your business gets by making your website seamless, more intuitive and efficient. 

We can make your website experience better with a free comprehensive user experience audit. Improve your website today.

Download our free guide to discover our unique approach and learn what it's like to work with us