The ability to convince others to do something or behave in a certain way is both a power and an art. It is power because when we convince someone to do something, we have actually forced him to act according to our will. In the election campaign, the candidate who was able to convince the largest crowd that he has the ability to act on his slogans is the winner.

In the world of business and competition, a winning product is the one that can convince the customer that it is the best in the market. It is a sustainable business that can always convince customers that it offers the highest quality products. Think of the Apple brand. In the design of each of its smartphones, Apple convinces the market that it has produced a very different product that should be bought.

Websites and applications must also convince users to use them again after one interaction. They should also convince them to buy a product or service or perform a specific task through the site or app. But the main and important question is, how can a product or a site convince the user/consumer? Are the methods and tools of persuasion in digital products different from other products? What is the role of user experience design and user interface of websites and apps in persuading the user? Can the product be designed to be persuasive? In this article, I discuss Persuasive Design and its role in UI/UX design and answer the questions that were raised.

Persuasive design in UI/UX design

Imagine you enter a store website with the intention of buying a perfume. You won’t find the perfume you want, but you won’t leave the site empty-handed. Do you know why? Because the user experience designer of that site has designed the user experience of the site very intelligently. You will be offered a very similar perfume that is in the special discounts of the site. You can buy that same perfume with one click – which you buy.

The UX designer of that site did not trick you or trick you into buying another perfume. He simply knows the human being, the human mind, his decision-making and behavioral triggers very well. One of the arts that every designer should have is the art of applying the findings and principles of psychology in design.

Every business that deals with people and wants to establish a stable, constructive and principled interaction with people, needs the help of psychological science to influence people. The UI/UX designer designs both the site and the application for the human (user). His goal is that the user has an easy and satisfactory interaction with the product and that the product fulfills his needs. For this reason, various psychological laws such as Hick’s law and Gestalt principles are widely used in UI and UX design.

But which principles and laws of psychology should be used to convince people and influence their feelings, behaviors and decisions? How should the site or application designer design a user experience that will make the user buy a specific product or service from the site or app? Actually, how can the designer convince the user to do something with the design and design elements?

What is persuasive design?

Using a design approach called persuasive design, the UI/UX designer can design the user experience of the product (site or app) in such a way that the user’s emotions and behavior are naturally affected. As a result, the user makes the decision that the product designer wants.

“Persuasive design is an area of ​​design practice that focuses on influencing human behavior through a product’s or service’s characteristics.”

In persuasive design, the designer’s decisions are based on psychological theories and principles. The important question that arises is which theory and which principle? A set of theories and principles. The designer needs to see what product he is designing and what the product features and user experience design are going to convince that user to do. For this reason, various recommendations and suggestions have been given to designers in different sources. Next, the main components of the persuasion process, one of the most famous theories in persuasive design for UI/UX designers, and some important principles are mentioned.

The main components of the persuasion process

Persuasion is a psychological process. In this process, there are two sides: the persuasive (source) and the persuasive (user). The relationship established between the persuader and the persuasive has a purpose (persuasion to do a certain thing). The persuader pursues his goal through the means and messages he sends to the persuasive. In our discussion, the means of persuasion is the product, for example, the site and its UI/UX design. The persuasive messages are the product features. In a site, those features are user experience and user interface and all design elements including photos, colors and content. So, the process of persuasion has 4 main components: the persuader, the persuaded, the goal and the message.

Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) for persuasive design

B.J. Fogg is a behavioral expert and a professor at Stanford University in the United States. He defined a framework to describe the human behavior model, which is known by his own name. According to this model, human behavior is the sum of 3 factors: motivation, ability and triggers. A very important point that should be noted is that those 3 factors must exist at the same time in order for a person to be convinced and a behavior to occur. So, when a behavior does not happen, one of these 3 factors did not exist.

When designing a product, the designer must have a clear picture of why the user wants to do something with or in that product (motivation). Then it should design doing that task in a way that is easy for the user to understand and be able to do. Let me give an example to make everything clear, including the discussion of triggers.

Consider sites and apps that offer different insurances. Buying insurance is not easy and it is very confusing and time consuming. Because insurers have different conditions and prices for each type of insurance. I want to buy life insurance (motivation). I enter and easily select the life insurance category. When I enter the life insurance page, the necessary information is categorized and I can even read the opinions of other users. I easily enter my conditions and can find the insurance that suits me (ability). It is possible to pay the insurance premium and issue it and even renew the insurance on this site with a few clicks (triggers).

Persuasive Design Principles

UI/UX designer should research for persuasive design based on FBM. Using other models also requires extensive research. If the designer does not want to involve himself in different models and research, he can follow principles (principles of persuasive design) in his design.

1. Clarity

If the designer wants to convince the user to buy a product from the site, the user experience and user interface should be transparent, clear and simple. How is a user supposed to be persuaded to perform a certain behavior when they cannot understand exactly what to do (and what that behavior is)? It is better to ask the user to do only one CTA or call-to-action button in each interaction.

2. Visual Appeal

If the site or app does not attract the user and is not attractive to him, why should he continue the interaction and want to buy from that site or do something through it? Whatever is said about the importance of visual appeal in product design and web design, it is not enough. Visual appeal is what impresses the user at first glance.

3. Visual Hierarchy

When the visual appeal convinces the user to engage more and more deeply with the site (product), it is the strong visual hierarchy that keeps him on the site. The organization of elements on the site according to their importance is called visual hierarchy.

4. Attention

The UI/UX designer should do his best and use all the design elements and colors to draw the user’s attention to what the designer wants. If the user’s attention is not drawn to the feature or features that the designer wants, convincing will not happen. Clarity, visual appeal, and visual hierarchy are all about directing and engaging the user’s attention.


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