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 rocket launching out of a laptop. A metaphor for speeding up website loading times.

One of the most common frustrations we experience today is watching a website slowly load in. Images pop in late, the page’s structure suddenly reorganizes itself and we’re back at the top, or we may never see the page at all. With the speed of modern data networks, usually a web page loads instantly. However, if a website hasn’t been properly optimized for speed and short loading times, it can suddenly become a snail. That’s not something you want for your business’ website. We discuss some of the best web design practices for ensuring faster load times for your website.

Why Website Speed Matters

Website load speed simply matters because it has a direct impact on your conversion rates. If your website is slower, you are less likely to get sales, orders, new clients, etc. This is the case for both B2C (business to customer) and B2B (business to business) businesses. Studies have shown that for B2B websites, a website that loads in 1 second has 3x the conversion of one that loads in 5 seconds and 5x one that loads in 10 seconds. The difference is similar for e-commerce B2C businesses, where a 1-second website has 2.5x the conversion rate of those loading in 5 seconds.

What is a Good Website Loading Speed?

In the simplest terms, the faster a website loads, the better. However, a website will always take some time to load, even if a fraction of a second. It might be easier to determine when the average becomes frustrated and gives up. Studies’ have found that its best to remain within 2.5 seconds, and the longest ideal time for a webpage to load is 4 seconds. After that, the conversion rate drops to half of what it was at 1 second.  

Determining Your Website’s Loading Time

To optimize your website’s loading time, you need to determine its speed. For a proper test, you need to consider different network speeds, device types, and that each page will have a different speed. Thankfully, Google has developed a free tool for the job: PageSpeed. Just by entering your business’ URL, PageSpeed will run a full a diagnostic on your website’s loading times. The test can also be run for a mobile device or computer, helping you determine if a certain version of your website has a speed issue.

Putting Your Website in High Gear

Once you determine your website could be faster, you will need to start optimizing. Here are some of the essential practices for speeding up your website’s load times:

Reducing Image Sizes

One of the main factors that affect a website’s load time is file sizes. A user’s device needs to download these files from a website to display them in their browser. Text is overall fast for a device to load. However, images, if not optimized, can be large and slow down your website considerably. Best practice is to keep the largest dimension of a website at 1200px or below. If you’ve used raw or stock photos, these tend to be 3 or 4 times bigger and just as hefty. File format is also important. JPEGs and PNGs can be relatively small in file size, but a WEBP is overall a more optimized format for website loading times.

Embedding Videos Rather than Hosting

Pictures can be large files; videos can be huge. That’s why a best practice for website speed is to upload a video to another service like YouTube or Vimeo. These allow you to embed a video on your site, making it part of the page’s display while keeping it hosted on these other services. Devices will retrieve the video from these faster sites while also keeping your site’s load size and time down.

Preventing Long Pages

An essential practice for website speed optimization is limiting the size of web pages. For example, if someone browses a store’s inventory, the page should not try to load all 250 products at once. That will slow the page down. Instead, make sure your website uses pagination or progressive loading for larger sections of your site. These smaller sections will take less load time and have less impact on a browser.

Look at Apps, Widgets, Plugins, etc.

Apps, widgets, and plugins often provide essential functionality to a business’ website. However, by adding that additional functionality, they can also increase a website’s load time. Monitor how these apps affect your site’s performance and weigh the importance of their functionality against their speed impact. Also, keep these add-ons updated with regular website maintenance. This will keep the tools optimized while also preventing any security vulnerabilities that could develop in older versions.

Some of Our Favourite Optimization Tools for Website Speed

Along with Google’s PageSpeed, our web team has two favourite tools for optimizing a website’s load time:

  • WP Rocket: This WordPress tool manages the website’s cache, cleans up the database, removes unused CSS, and defers JavaScript to prioritize a page’s content.
  • Shortpixel: This convenient tool will convert and deliver images on a website into WEBP format.

Don’t Wait on Improving Your Website’s Load Times

Now you know some of the essential best practices for improving and optimizing a website’s load times. We recommend optimizing your site right away. That swift website speed will provide your users with an optimal experience on all their devices. In turn, that improves your business’ conversion rate. If you want help optimizing or maintaining your website’s speed, contact our web design team.

White board marker writing "AUDIENCE" for someone thinking about email audience segments

Email has managed to stay one of the strongest digital marketing strategies for small and large businesses. However, just like any digital marketing, it succeeds best when it fosters engagement from its audience. An essential strategy for building email engagement and improving KPIs (key performance indicators) is audience segmentation and creating tailored emails. We’ll explain what exactly email audience segments are and the best strategies for finding and reaching them.

What are Email Audience Segments?

Your email audience is another term for those who receive your emails. This can include your newsletter subscribers as well as those customers who receive notifications about their orders, favorite products, or cart updates. While all your audience shares the commonality of having interest in your business, they’re a diverse collection of individuals. Email audience segmentation splits that audience into segments or groups. It then targets those groups with emails that are more specifically tailored to who they are. 

Creating emails that reflect your audience’s different interests or concerns results in emails with much higher engagement rates. In fact, alongside personalization, audience segmentation is the most effective strategy for improving email performance. It doubles open and click rates, halves unsubscribe rates. Plus, email audiences with high segmentation can have up to 3x their ROI (return on investment).

Segmentation Strategies


One of the first ways you can begin segmenting your email audience is demographics. These include age, gender, location, and other basic details about that person. This can be extremely useful information because you may provide products or services that email to different demographics. For example, a clothing store may sell products for men and women. That business will likely want to send emails about women’s products to a feminine segment of their audience, and men’s products to a masculine segment. Similarly, if a business is hosting an event in a certain area, it is better to send an email only to those audience members who live nearby and could reasonably attend the event.


Psychographic information is like demographics since it focuses on individual people. However, rather than personal information that reflects what part of the population they are, psychographics focuses on their individual minds. These include their interests, lifestyle, and values. For example, some of your audience may prefer more luxurious or extravagant items while others are more frugal. That could represent their financial situation, but it can also just be indicative of their own tastes. As a result, the prior group may respond better to emails that highlight a product’s elegance and opulence. The latter group may engage better with emails that tell them about deals or value incentives. Alongside their demographics, psychographics plays a key role in how customers choose to purchase products or services, and thus what emails they open and click on. Therefore, they are a useful method to segment your audience for determining how and what you communicate to each. 


While demographics and psychographics focus on individuals, firmographics focus on the details of an entire company. These include information like a company’s size, type, structure, industry, location, and more. Firmographic details are especially useful for B2B (business to business) and SAAS (software as a service) businesses since their clients are companies rather than individuals. Just like demographics or psychographics, you can use firmographics to create emails tailored to groups of companies that would be more interested in specific subject matter.

Getting All Those -Graphics

Demographics, psychographics, and firmographics are all excellent for creating audience segments. However, you need this information to use them. Some of these can be gathered when individuals or clients create an account to purchase products or services from your business. Your email marketing service, such as Klaviyo, can also retrieve some of this information from cookies and third-parties like Google to help flesh out demographics and firmographics. However, other information such as psychographics can be more difficult to obtain. For these, a newsletter sign-up form or survey with some incentive (e.g. a small discount or contest entry) can help gather this critical information for effective audience segmentation.

Behavioral Information

The most useful information you can obtain about your audience is from how they interact with your business’ website, digital storefront, and emails. Behavioral information considers things like purchase history, product/service page visits, as well as email open rates, click-through rates, and even what they click. All of this helps create a more detailed customer profile, allowing you to highly segment your audience and create specifically tailored emails. 

Demographics and psychographics help you contextualize members of your audience, but behavioral data helps you truly understand their interest in your business. For example, that same woman who shops at the clothing store may only buy men’s clothes for her partner or family. As a result, she will instead engage more with emails about men’s clothing. Demographic information can tell you what kind of person someone is; it’s behavioral data that will tell you what kind of customer someone is.

Collecting Behavioral Data with Email Marketing Tools

While demographics can be sourced from elsewhere, behavioral data will be primarily your responsibility to collect. Thankfully again your email marketing service, like Klaviyo, will make that possible. These services will record detailed performance metrics about emails and each audience member. They’ll know exactly who opened emails and where they clicked. These email marketing services can also be connected to your website to help track their behavior there. This could include purchases, product following, and even page visits to get a full picture of every customer.

Creating Segments

Collecting data is just the first step. After you’ve assembled these details about your audience, you or an expert in email marketing will then need to analyze the data to create effective email segmentation. Some of those segments will be based on specific product or service groups. Others will be based on their purchase history or email engagement rates. Lapsing customers or email subscribers can be placed into a segment that tries to regain their attention and engagement. Those who are consistently engaged and/or are in a high spending tier might be put into a VIP segment with emails that provide special offers, keeping them loyal to and engaged with your business. This can even be attached to a loyalty program that helps identify and automatically rewards such VIPs.

Starting with the Basics

Now younhave the essentials for understanding email audience segments and why they’re so effective at building better engagement. It can seem like a lot of effort, but it more than pays off in boosting your emails’ KPIs and ROI. If you want to know more about email audience segments, how to create them, or the best strategies for tailoring emails to them, be sure to chat with our digital marketing team