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How does design affect decision making?

Design principles can help explain why people gravitate to some websites over others

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Have you ever visited a website and found it impossible to locate the information you wanted? From hard to read color schemes to misplaced graphics, a poorly designed website can sink a business’s chances in less than fifteen seconds. Though it may feel as though the quality of the work should speak for itself, the reality is that people will never see the quality of the work if they can’t make it through a website. As it turns out, good design is, in fact, good business.

That’s where Squarespace comes in, utilizing design principles for award winning templates that let users create a website with both ease and effectiveness. Today, small online businesses are on the rise, with over 500,000 starting up each month, making it more important than ever that a business cuts through the clutter with websites that have aesthetics and usability in mind.

Good design is born from the principles of design, which exist to help our brains parse visual cues quickly and effectively. The universal principles of design - balance, contrast, emphasis, hierarchy, movement, pattern, proportion, repetition, rhythm, unity, variety, and white space - are all capable of operating independently of each other, but when they come together it creates a visual experience that immediately makes sense to and engages the consumer. Adding to those are the Gestalt principles of design – which can include closure, continuity, organization, perception, proximity, similarity, and symmetry – based in the German psychological theory about human perception; how we interpret information visually, and how we can better use our brain’s natural tendency to see structure and pattern.

Considering this close connection to how our process information work, it’s no surprise that design has the possibility to be emotional, nostalgic, or exciting. It can build brand loyalty and name recognition. Communicating the right information to users can become significantly easier through applying principles of design. Even seemingly small ways like using contrasting colors to highlight the information you feel is most valuable, or using symmetry to create a feeling of balance and harmony that invites the user to scroll without feeling frustrated, plays to the fact that our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Design can make users feel comfortable by working with the brain’s innate process, rather than against it.

From a purely financial perspective, publicly traded companies that apply the principles of design to their websites perform 200% better than those who don’t. It has also been shown that identical content is perceived very differently based on aesthetics – the more intuitive, user friendly, and well designed site was perceived as having better content. Using the principles of design can help build a client base, and also improve efficiency by cutting down on customer service issues. Sales can improve when the experience is more enjoyable and the check out more visible. And that’s a design for success.