A web design implementing some key principles adapted from psychology

A lot of thought and planning goes into designing a website. Today, our design team benefits from decades of research about the psychology of how users navigate websites. Along with years of practicing to enact those principles, we have a better sense for creating an intuitive experience. For businesses, that helps users effectively learn about your business and complete purchases or hire you. We’ll explain some principles from psychology behind creating intuitive user experiences.

The Psychology of Web Design

Most humans process visual information in a similar way. Our eyes and brains work together to comprehend complex visual information. Today, psychology has a better understanding of how these systems work. However, human brains and eyes didn’t originally develop for screens and computers. So, web design applies this knowledge from psychology to create websites that are intuitive for people to navigate and use. There are a few principles that have become standard in the psychology of intuitive user experiences.

Fitts’s Law

The psychologist Paul Fitts studied how humans select a target and created a model that predicts the speed humans move their aim to that target. Originally, Fitts was looking at pointing, but today computer scientists and web designers continuously use Fitts’s law for predicting how fast humans can intuitively navigate an interface with a mouse pointer or their finger. The two primary factors of speed in Fitts’s law are size and width. The larger and wider something is, the faster someone can target it. This is why buttons in web design are larger than other text and horizontally oriented.

Fitts’s law is a great example of how psychology is critical to intuitive and ergonomic web design. Rotating a button 90° to be vertically oriented would be the same size and potentially closer to a mouse pointer. Plus, it might seem a better choice for vertical displays like mobile devices. However, the psychology of human visual systems makes it so that a taller but thinner button is harder and slower to interact with, and so less intuitive.

Hick’s Law

Another important principle from psychology, the Hick’s or Hick-Hyman Law is all about limiting choice. This psychological principle shows how for every additional choice a person will logarithmically take more time to decide. This is why too many options can lead to “decision paralysis” where it’s hard to make any choice. For web design this means reducing the number of choices you present to users at one time so they more intuitively navigate through your website. For example, presenting 16 buttons that navigate everywhere on the first screen can immediately overwhelm a user. Separating these buttons into sections on a home page, or into their own dedicated pages in a navigation flow will create a more intuitive experience that guides users through the choices they want to make.

Gestalt Principles

Another important practice from psychology critical to intuitive user experiences on your website are “Gestalt Principles.” These principles are a system of how humans interpret and organize visual information we see by grouping and recognizing patterns. A few of these are extremely beneficial for creating intuitive websites.


Information arranged into visual hierarchies is critical to any larger visual project. For example, online stores sometimes have tens or even hundreds of options. According to Hick’s Law, that could be paralyzing. Using visual hierarchies allows us to better organize those choices into a set of larger more refined choices. Consider how someone chooses food at a restaurant. They typically go through the larger categories (e.g. salad, entrees, soups) before picking a certain item in that group and then selecting the specific options for that dish. The same can be accomplished in web design: major product categories, a main product page, variations on that page.

There are various ways to create visual hierarchy:

  • Size – larger elements are seen as more important and attract more attention. This is why headings go up in size with titles as the largest.
  • Colour – colours with certain hues, more saturation, or high contrast will get more attention. This can be applied to buttons, icons, graphics, and text. In fact, it’s an old practice for text and is where the term “rubric” comes from. Rubrication was making certain text like titles or headers red in old manuscripts to visually stand out.
  • Alignment – Something’s placement can have it gain our attention first or last. This depends on culture and language. For example, those who read western languages tend to give priority to things more left and at the top, while those who read Arabic will give priority to things more to the right.


Humans group things together that are visually close to one another. This is used in web design to create visual associations between copy, images, videos, and buttons. Those closer together are intuitively understood to be more related than elements placed farther away.


Besides being close, we also create associations between things that are visually similar. This can be because of an associated icon, distinct font types, or using specific colours. For example, a solid colour with high contrast can intuitively identify buttons. Those colour associations can then be made more specific. If every reference to one kind of service your business provides is in blue and another is in red, a user intuitively understands the colour associations and how to navigate your site.

Remember Accessibility

Keep in mind that these psychological principles for intuitive user experiences are usually defined according to an average user. Don’t forget to consider accessibility when designing a website. A part of your design might not be as intuitive to someone who is visually impaired or lacks full colour vision. Ultimately, the best way to determine if your web design is intuitive is to test user experiences.

Mindful Design

We can’t discuss every way psychology has helped to develop intuitive user experiences in web design. However, these laws and principles have become fundamentals of visual design. Understanding the psychology behind them helps to create a mindful design. Through these principles, you can develop a website that is truly intuitive and that also accounts for accessibility. If you’re ready to create an intuitive user experience for your customers and audience, be sure to contact our web design team.

A man sitting at his laptop at a cafe while talking on his phone, working on an discussing social listening

The value of social media is forming, growing, and interacting with your business or nonprofit’s audience. It allows you to directly connect and communicate with those who are interested in your business. However, social media is not just useful for getting your message out. It also provides exceptional opportunities to learn from and understand your audience. We’ll explain what the role of this social listening is and how you can use it to better understand your target audience.

What are Social Listening and its Benefits?

Along with insightful metrics, the power of social media is the conversation. Social listening is using social media to get a sense of your audience’s thoughts about your business and its products or services. This is extremely beneficial for small businesses since it provides a fuller sense of what their wider digital community thinks or wants. That helps your business better understand its target audience and begin to make decisions about those desires or expectations. This listening and reacting also helps to foster a stronger and more dedicated community on social media as your audience realizes they are being heard.

Social Listening and Small Businesses

Social listening is an area of digital marketing where small businesses really shine. Larger businesses can be inundated with posts and comments that can be difficult, if not impossible, to sift through. Listening requires attention and focus, and that is a daunting task with a massive audience with myriad of voices. However, small businesses tend to have smaller, more focused audiences. That means it’s much easier for your social staff or digital marketing team to track and listen to most of your audience. Since at least 42% of users use social media to voice concerns about a product or service expecting a resolution, small businesses are better able to hear those customers. This focus is the same strength small businesses have on social media more generally. They can genuinely engage with their community.

How to Listen: Social Listening Strategies

To be fully comprehensive, social listening needs to employ multiple strategies to understand a target audience.

  • Listening to Direct Communications: Comments and private messages are direct communications with your business. Noting these means you are both paying attention to important comments or feedback. Responding to these communications also shows your audience that you’re actively listening.
  • Collecting Feedback: You can also foster direct communication with engaging posts. These might ask for input about what products or services they want to see offered, what their favourites are, or any other useful information.
  • Tracking Mentions, Keywords, and Tags: A lot of what you should listen to from your target audience isn’t said directly to you. For example, 96% of displeased customers don’t tell the company; they tell friends. The same goes for celebrating or recommending a product or service. Tracking keywords, mentions, and tags of your business, products, or services will provide a fuller sense of what your audience is saying. You or your marketing team can also track these for related brands or similar businesses to better understand your wider audience.
  • Attentive Listening: As you listen and respond to your audience. Be sure to listen attentively and consider the frequency of what they are saying. For example, if there is an issue with another company’s product or service, pay attention to what they say, and you may find a specific place where your business can address that issue and directly address it in your marketing. Similarly, if your audience repeatedly asks a similar question, it’s a good idea to provide a featured post that answers that question.
  • Understanding What is Beneficial: Not every comment, feedback, or impression will be informative. Not every social post or comment is thoughtful and attentive. Your marketing team will consider everything, but they will analyze and determine what is useful.

Start Listening, Start Understanding

Social listening is a key strategy for any business to understand its audience. Social media has given every user and business the unique opportunity for having a platform and communicating. A key part of communication is listening, not just speaking. By attentively and strategically listening on social media, you or your digital marketing team can begin to truly understand your audience and make effective and resonating decisions for your business. If you’re ready to start listening or want help mastering your strategy, contact the social media marketing team at Rosewood.

Two women collaborating on a laptop to optimize a Google ad landing page for better results.

We repeatedly talk about how Google Ads are great for small businesses. Their scaling budget, focused targeting, and clear metrics make them a versatile option. Once you’ve set up effective Google Ads, you’ll be able to direct users to a landing page on your business’ website. That landing page has just as important a job of ensuring potential customers continue on to purchase your products or services. We’ll explain how you can optimize your Google Ads landing pages for better results.

What is a Landing Page

A landing page is a page on your website where a user ends up when they click on a digital marketing campaign like a social media post or Google Ad. It’s where the user “lands” in their digital flight. The landing page ensures those who are interested in the marketing campaign maintain that interest and direct them to complete the desired actions. This could be to purchase a certain product, hire your business’ services, have them sign up for a newsletter, attend an event, etc. Your Google Ad’s job was to increase awareness about your business, its services, or its products and convert them to visit your website. The landing page continues that conversion process by providing a friendly and focused welcome with clear directions to keep going.

How to Optimize and Improve Your Landing Pages

Just like with any digital marketing, there are various strategies to consider when optimizing your landing pages to improve their performance. Here are some of the key strategies along with examples that represent these best practices.

The Right Page for the Right Ad

Unlike your home page, a landing page has a more precise job. It welcomes a user who has come for a specific reason through a specific Google Ad. Therefore, you don’t want an overly generic landing page that will leave users lost. Tailor the landing page to each ad or type of ad. For example, a Google Ad for a certain product or service should land the user on that product or service request page. If a user follows a link to sign up for a newsletter or event, the landing page should be the form to join. If users don’t arrive on a corresponding landing page, they are only likely to get confused, frustrated, and leave.

Concise and Effective Copy

Another way a landing page can potentially confuse any new arrivals is by being full of words. Users have come with a specific purpose, and a landing page should have clear and simple messaging that provides pertinent information. Keep copy concise to be the most effective. Wordiness or jargon could lead to confusion and distract a user from completing the conversion that’s your business’ goal. This landing page from FeminaHealth is a great example. Notice how the simple copy effectively communicates the information with distinct formatting that clearly directs the user to the next step.

Clear Call to Actions

Along with that direct and concise copy, you will want a clear and prominent call to action on any landing page. This will make it clear to a user how to proceed when they arrive on the page, optimizing its performance. On a product page, this will be a clear button like “Add to Cart”. On a newsletter or event signup, these calls to action could be a “Fill the Form” in prominent text with a clear “SUBMIT” button at the bottom. These clear calls to action help direct a user to continue from the landing to the next critical steps in the process. This landing page from Goldberg Centre Vision Correction for booking a consultation is a perfect example of a prominent call to action that directs any landing arrivals.

Cohesive Branding Between Google Ad and Landing Page

An important element of designing any optimized landing page is making sure it is consistent with the rest of your digital branding. When a user arrives at a landing page, they want the space to be familiar and expected. If they arrive at a page that doesn’t match the Google Ad visually and verbally, they’ll be confused or even worried they’ve been taken to the wrong place. That’s why it’s best practice that your landing page has cohesive branding. The space should seem familiar and right, and so should be custom-designed to match the visuals, tone, and style of your business. A great example of this strategy is this landing page from talkspace, where the branding is clear in the page’s logo, colours, and the tone of its copy.

The Best Landing Page is One They Don’t Walk Away From

Now you know some of the best practices for optimizing and improving your Google Ads landing pages. You want a landing page to provide a clear, directive, and familiar experience for any user arriving there. Its job is to keep users there and in contact with your business, not scare them off. If you want more tips for designing your landing pages or want some optimized pages designed for you, contact our advertising and web design teams at Rosewood, who are masters of sticking the landing.