People trust what they see far more than what they hear.

The human brain processes visuals 50 times faster than text. It’s much easier to persuade someone into action through visual stimulus than by merely talking to them or providing a text document. The same goes for your ecommerce site.

At Searchlove yesterday, Conversion XL’s public face and conversion optimisation expert Peep Laja delivered his ideas on what your site should be doing to attract consumers, drawing from the latest research on neuro web design.

Before you hope to persuade an audience, you need to know what’s going on in their brain first. Most decisions are snap decisions; for most of the time we humans are working on a quasi kind of auto-pilot.

Malcolm Gladwell stated that 

Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.

However with so many options bombarding the casual internet user, it’s important to appeal to their most instinctive level. You’ve only got fractions of a second to accomplish this.

Here are five tips to keep in mind for persuasive web design:

One: Clarity above all

The brain is a questioning organ. When we see something for the first time, the first thing we ask is "What is it?"

So for your website, the immediate questions the user instinctively asks are: What is this site about? What can I do here? What is there to stay for? And most importantly… Will I get the information I need?

Don’t use jargon heavy slogans and complicated highly detailed phrasing. Do something like this instead…

I know what I’m buying here, it couldn’t be more abundantly clear. I know exactly where to go if I want more info. I know exactly where to go if I want to buy it.

Here are eight more product landing pages to inspire you.

Two: Visual appeal

Research has shown that when people look at a website, 96% notice the visual design first. Only 6% notice the content.

First impressions can last years; visual appeal is apparently more instantly recognisable than user experience. Make it simple and familiar, people have a good general idea of what an ecommerce website should look like.

Here’s Simple’s banking website. 

Thankfully, the clear and easy to use homepage matches the bank’s mission statement. This is also a good example of using lots of white background to drive attention to what’s important on the page.

Here’s 24 more examples of user interfaces to help improve the visual appeal of your site.

Three: Have a strong visual hierarchy

Take at a look at the circles. Which is the most important circle?

The blue one, right? You don’t know anything about these circles. You’ve only just met them, and yet because the blue one is the biggest, you think it’s the most important.

Make whatever is the most important thing on your site the biggest thing.

Here’s 10 more excellent ecommerce product pages.

Four: Keep attention at all costs

  • 80% of attention happens above the fold.
  • 69% of attention happens on the left hand side of the screen.

According to neuroscience, the best way to capture attention is to use overlarge, attractive photographs. Larger than life background photos on landing pages are fantastic at doing this.

Using humans is a good way of creating an obvious personal connection to the consumer.

Especially if that human is smiling, making eye-contact, has open body language and is a natural, real-life example of a customer, not obvious stock photography.

Ebay has recently ‘adapted’ Pinterest’s layout for its own listings pages.

The company (eBay) claims that using overlarge images and reducing the text has slowed down user scrolling time.

On product pages, make your products bigger. Doing something as simple as reducing the number of products in a row from four to three, and making those images bigger, can lead to a 25% higher revenue.

Five: One primary action per screen

Think about exactly what each individual webpage’s function is, and make that abundantly clear. Don’t provide too many calls to actions to soon.

“Sign up now – it’s free!” is a common homepage call to action, but what is the user signing up for? What do they gain from this? Why should they care? 

Take the user on a journey first, using information about the product or service, then the user will be much more likely to make a purchase or sign-up when the call to action is presented. Here are 10 more best practice tips for ecommerce calls to action.

For further guidance on visual appeal read our A-Z of UX design principles from tech experts and our ultimate guide to colours and formatting for better conversion.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 30 October, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (17)

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Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

The spotify CTA is an interesting one, I assume they have tested it. Persuasive best practice would normally suggest that the CTA should be about what the user is trying to achieve, in this case listen to music, spotify is only the facilitator, not the end in itself.

almost 5 years ago



Think points made about top left "above the fold" positioning in 4/ above are very important: It amazes me how many sites hide important information (such as e.g. access to contact details, social media etc.) at the bottom of the page, and forget just how "out of the way" this will be on smaller screens (including mobile etc.)

almost 5 years ago



Nice post Christopher.
Have you heard about EyeQuant? They do landing page visual analysis in seconds rather than the usual days of other research methods. It's a great tool to refine websites and get all the things you speak about right before launching - and it's really cheap to use so there's not excuse these days to have poor visual quality.
I definitely recommend checking them out.

almost 5 years ago


Swan Hyderabad

Oh Very valuable information. The webdesign also one of the main ranking factor in SEO and it's highly influence the SEO rankings and conversions as well.

almost 5 years ago


Dan Merryday

This is new data for me:

80% of attention happens above the fold.
69% of attention happens on the left hand side of the screen.

I will keep that in mind when designing my website layout.

I also like the simple and clean examples; it really goes to show that less is more in web design.


almost 5 years ago


Jason Foster

I've come from I really wondered having such helpful excellent information. Please, let me follow this blog. :)

almost 5 years ago



Hi Christopher, thanks for sharing this blog. Really very useful information shared regarding designing a website. Awaiting for more such useful blogs.

almost 5 years ago



The modern trend for every company is to maintain a web portal for their business products and services.
Two decades past internet did not reach all parts of the world. But now it is affordable and in reach of every common man throughout the world. This modern era also became famous for the smart gadgets. This increased the demand for the websites with efficient functionalities in the market. and it is a better improvement in web design

almost 5 years ago


Marcus Johnson

Interesting article - but 'According to neuroscience'... could we have a reference?

almost 5 years ago


Web design

interesting blog..

over 4 years ago


EIW-Web Design Company

Nice Blog
This blog will surely helpful me in web design.

over 4 years ago


Web Designing Company UK

really awesome techniques for best web designing. thanks for supporting us.

over 4 years ago



Really this blog is very nice, very easy understandable and good informative. Thanks for nice post

over 4 years ago



Oh Very valuable information. The webdesign also one of the main ranking factor in SEO and it's highly influence the SEO rankings and conversions as well.

over 4 years ago


Calum Maxwell, Managing Director at Optimise Online

Clarity and Visual appeal, totally agree. If the visitor can't find the information they're after you'll miss your opportunity to convert them to a customer. Great piece, thanks Christopher.

about 4 years ago

Rakesh Rudra

Rakesh Rudra, Senior SEO Executive at Rudra Innovative Software Pvt. Ltd.

Nice techniques, These Techniques is very useful for increasing the conversions. I have used these techniques for my website. It's really helpful for me.

almost 3 years ago


Michael owen, Manager at Manta

The post you have shared is of great help to me, as i was looking for this kind of information. I recently came to similar kind of blog in which same information is shared in detail.

over 1 year ago

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