What do you think of when you hear ‘website design’, or even just the word ‘design’?

Be honest. Did something visual or colourful pop up in your head? If it did, it’s probably because you’re used to seeing ‘design’ or ‘designer’ next to works like ‘clothing’ and ‘interior’.

As a result, it’s easy to fall into the trap of building a website we like that looks beautiful, but doesn’t work beautifully for the people it’s really for.

In this short insight article, you’ll get a better understanding of how to change the way you think about your own website and how you can use two psychology principles to improve conversion rate, cost-per-lead, and bounce rate.

We’ll cover: Hick’s Law, and the The Von Restorff Effect

What is Hick’s Law?
Keep it Simple, Stupid

We’ve all been in a restaurant reading the menu when the person that’s looking after us asks if we’re ready to order. How many times have you replied ‘give us a couple of minutes’ when you see five things you know you’ll absolutely love.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

You might have heard of the K.I.S.S principle. Hick’s law is similar.

Hicks Law: the more complicated the options and choices we’re given, the longer it takes us to make up our minds.

Origin: Also known as Hick–Hyman law named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman.

Hicks Law visualised in a graph
Source: pngkey

How does Ignoring Hick’s Law
Create a Business Problem?

Think how stressful it is when you’re booking a holiday.

You’re jumping between tabs, booking the flight, luggage, travel insurance and accomodation. It gets your head in a mess, but you have to do it because you want to go on holiday.

Now imagine you’re buying a rug for the living room and the checkout page is one giant page of things to read, click and decide on. You might think ‘it’s pretty pricey, for a rug’ and give up.

For e-commerce sites, buyers giving up at the checkout stage can be a real business problem causing an increase in average visit time, but a decrease in revenue.

That’s why major e-commerce brands use Hicks Law to break down the choice over several pages for less user-journey abandonment, and better conversion.

shopping cart, delivery details, payment, review and submit.

Simple, but very effective.

How Can Your Website Use Hicks Law
to Improve Conversion Rate?

Go to your website and try to see it through the eyes of a first-time visitor. If it makes you feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights, then you’ve got Hick’s Law issues.

The best way of applying Hick’s Law is to go through your visitor journey step-by-step and identify where the points of friction are.

What does your product offering look like?

Is your service stack more complex than it needs to be? Is your pricing structure complicated to understand?

Do you use popups as soon as they arrive?

If you do, could it be doing more harm than good? Are the popups actually driving value and capturing actionable info? Or are they just giving people more options they don’t want to deal with?

How many options do you have in the menu bar?

Could you merge some? Could you put ‘careers’ and ‘company history’ in the footer at the bottom of the page? Are you making your business look like hard word without realising?

Making a top-to-bottom assessment will help you smooth things out and narrow down the choices people have to make to finally get to the point where they’re ready to break cover and contact you, or purchase.

We can help with all this stuff. A good place to start with learning how to apply Hick’s Law is a website audit that will ask and answer these questions. Fixing the problems doesn’t have to be expensive. A quick audit will simply give you the problems, so you can go away and fix them.

The Von Restorff Effect:
Stand Out and Be Remembered.

You know that feeling when you do everything right, and nobody says anything?

Then you do one thing wrong, and suddenly you’re remembered for it? That’s a good way of thinking of the Von Restorff effect.

The Von Restorff effect: when there are lots of similar things, the one that is different to the rest is most likely to be remembered.

Origin: Also known as the isolation effect, it was the result of a study by German psychiatrist and paediatrician Hedwig von Restorff.

Standing out from the crowd

How Can Your Website Use the Von Restorff Effect to Improve Conversion Rate?

You have to be careful when applying this one, because it’s as easy to do harm to the user-experience of website visitors as it is to do good. The last thing you want to do is make things colourful for no good reason as you’ll start to ruin your brand identity.

The Von Restorff Effect can be used in many ways. Here are two examples.

Using the Von Restroff Effect with CTA buttons.

CTAs that are a different colour to the rest of your brand’s colour palate will get attention. People will actually be more likely to want to click them if they’re a different colour.

improve conversion rate with contrasting CTA buttons
Image Credit: Adidas

Don’t go too crazy though. You’re the judge of how far you want to push CTAs visually depending on your brand guidelines, so don’t hold us responsible!

Download HubSpot’s ‘39 Call-to-Action Examples You Can’t Help But Click’ for a little inspiration.

Using the Von Restroff Effect on Pricing Pages

How you price services is key to your entire business model. You might need to sell a one service consistently (for example, an annual service over a one-month service) to give you better long-term forecasts and stability.

Here’s an example from Wix on how you might think about setting up your pricing page so that visitors remember certain options over others.

Wix services pricing page
Image credit: Wix

Want to know more about conversion rate optimisation? Check out the following:

…or get in touch!

Thanks for reading.

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