Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design

Why people like the things they do? Learn how to use and benefit from the psychology factors behind a modern day successful web design

By Claudio Pires
Updated on February 22, 2023
Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design

Designers obsess over the style and art of their work, and rightfully so. However, they make the grave mistake of not going deeper. A good designer knows what makes a particular element of web design appealing. He or she knows how to catch a person’s attention. Learn how to use and benefit from the psychology factors behind a modern day successful web design.

But it is rare that you will find a designer who understands why people like the things they do. This is where the actual psychology behind modern-day web design comes in.

Instead of being something clinical, cold and dead, the actual science of psychology makes the design closer to the users.

It makes room for connecting with your target audience, it gives you insight into what works on a much deeper level, and it helps you understand why that is. This can serve as an excellent tool in your arsenal, something that can truly push you forward.

Consistency on various levels

We crave consistency and stability. It’s an ancient reflex, part of the programming that allowed us to survive in the wild. What is strange and different should be approached with caution. What is familiar should be guarded and used to keep us safe.

This somewhat broad notion can be applied to web design easily.  

Namely, if you have many different aspects of your company, like other websites, Instagram marketing, a Facebook page, a Twitter account…

All these aspects should have a familiar pattern. It’s not enough to have your name and logo everywhere, you want to go farther. For example, let’s say your logo has aspects of sharp angles and the colors red, black, and white.

You want these aspects to be present in the way you design your website. Furthermore, the cover photo on your Facebook page, your Twitter profile image… you want all of these to follow the same angular pattern and the same color scheme. There is no need to keep them identical. That can even be boring.

This is, of course, a tricky subject. Unless you are a web designer, a lack of consistency might be a sign you need a web designer.

Reading patterns: Psychology in modern web design

Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design
Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design

There is a psychological trait we all share, which is how we read online articles. Since we are constantly bombarded with information, research has shown that we developed a specific way to skim articles online.

This is called the “F” pattern. Let’s say you have an article that has 20 lines of text. A reader will first skim through the paper by reading the first and (for example) the tenth line. Besides these two lines, they will read the first couple of words for all other lines. Essentially, our eyes move in the shape of an “F.” 

So, how is this relevant to you? Simple. If the reader likes what he or she skimmed through, they will read the entire article. So, you need to hook the reader by putting the most exciting and valuable information into the first and some middle lines, as well as the first couple of words of all the other lines of text. This trend boosts conversion rates and has been for some time now.

Of course, this is easier said than done, and if done improperly will ruin the actual text. It’s up to you to navigate this fine line properly.

Proper usage of images: Psychology in modern day web design

It’s a no-brainer that images make things more excellent. They are used as an almost decorative item, something to draw the eye. However, they have another function. Namely, they can reinforce a particular concept or idea. If you put an image that makes no sense and has no connection with the idea you offer, you will confuse the reader.

However, if you have a properly corresponding image, you will reinforce whatever you wanted to strengthen.  It creates a sense of order in the user and a sense of peace.

Here is an example to make things more clear. Let’s say you are hired to design a website used by a catering service, and they want a nice background image.

Now, do you put a photo of a delicious steak with all the sides artfully photographed? Or do you go with a girl in a dress, wearing fancy jewelry?

Of course, you choose the steak. The question is, why do we reflexively know the answer to this question? Because when we enter such a website, we are primed to think about a party or food. The girl in the dress will at best, confuse people or, at worst, will seem like a cheap move to grab a user’s attention.

Avoid overwhelming people with information

Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design
Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design – Overwhelming

Our minds can only handle so much information. After a certain point, we will feel frustrated and annoyed by a chaotic user interface. And this isn’t just a matter of poor and sloppy design. Often people want to implement features that are genuinely fantastic.

Unfortunately, there is too much stuff on one page, and it ends up confusing the user. Sure, exposure is fantastic, but if you can’t keep anybody on your page for longer than twenty seconds, what’s the point?

You want to give people some breathing room, some space to be able to take everything in properly. Now, of course, all this happens subconsciously in seconds. Don’t be afraid to have some space on your page. In fact – use it. Implement it, and modify it so you can direct the user’s attention to something else.

Focus: Psychology factors in modern day successful web design

Every page should have a clear focus, a clear idea that it represents is critical in modern-day web design. Humans are not as good at multitasking as we like to think we are. Having one page serve one idea and having it do one task will make things flow much more naturally for all your users.

The page should be designed in a manner in which the real focus and purpose of the page are readily apparent. Perhaps the definition of a page is to showcase a product, or maybe it’s there to provide a brief history of the company.

Maybe you want a page that is designed to get you guaranteed local SEO functionality. Putting too much information on one page is lazy and inefficient. And don’t be afraid of leaving some room and blank space on the page. If used properly, it can only emphasize the information you are providing.

The psychology of colors for successful web design

Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design
Psychology Behind A Modern Day Web Design

One of the more exciting aspects of the psychology of design is the theory backing emotions behind colors. Namely, every bloom has a specific effect on people, it provokes emotion.

Consider, though, that shades matter, as does the intensity of the colors. There is also some overlap between them, but they are generally relatively straightforward using the psychology successful web design.

So, for example, red is fire and passion, and it is also associated with power and anger. Yellow is soothing. On the other hand, dark, gold-ish yellow is regal, just like purple. Green will remind your users of nature and growth. However, dark red is poison, but also the earth.

Black is elegance and class but also death and strength. White is purity, but it also reminds one of a hospital. In general, lighter shades provide an emotion of exhilaration and energy, while darker shades are melancholic and grounded.


Understanding how people think and what drives their emotions and motivations when using a particular service or product is critical to becoming a better designer.

You will get a much deeper understanding of things if you utilize these techniques and ideas in modern-day web design. Use the limitations of our minds to your advantage, understand how colors and emotions coexist, and find the right balance between familiarity and chaos for the psychology successful web design.

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.