Use priming to improve UX
1. Avoid using page elements that can prime negative user behavior and expectations, like coupon fields.
Placing large, prominent coupon fields on your checkout page makes users think about saving money, and can prime them to leave the checkout flow and search for a promo code. Moreover, users that can’t find a promo code are likely to experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and abandon their purchase altogether.
2. Avoid using trigger words that cause visceral reactions near your call to action, like spam.
For example, if a cleaner came to your house and immediately mentioned they weren’t going to steal anything, what would you think? Mentioning the word spam, even if it’s a promise not to send it, near an email signup can have the same effect and actually scare users away. This example from a ContentVerve case study shows that simply adding 100% privacy – we will never spam you! to an email signup form resulted in 18.7% fewer signups.
3. Use page elements that accurately reflect the message you want to project to give the right first impression.
Choose your images and copy with diligence and don’t unintentionally mislead users. For example, the image below is a website for a private school that includes up to grade 8. However, the only images displayed are those of kids that look really young, which might mislead visitors into believing that the school is only a preschool or an elementary school at best.
4. Model your site layout and design on larger brands in your industry to create a feeling of familiarity and reassurance.
The look and feel of a page creates first impressions about a website and what its products are like. This is largely based on preconceived notions or stereotypes about how certain websites should look. Users associate websites that look and feel professional with larger, more trustworthy brands. Using site builders like Squarespace, Wix, and even cheap and easy WordPress themes can help bridge the gap between local business and national chain and make your website look more like what consumers expect.
5. Use strategic image placement as a prime for users to complete specific actions.
For example, say you have a shopping mobile app with some onboarding walkthrough screens describing the features of the app. In one of the screens, you show the users how to access the categories screen. Next to the text explaining how to do that, you also have a nice blue icon illustrating a sketched iPhone, whose apparent sole function is to accompany the text. In reality, the icon acts as a prime, so that when the users get to the screen containing the categories, they will choose the blue Electronics category as their first interaction.