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6 website design tips inspired by human brain studies

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Artistotle described human beings as rational animals more than 2000 years ago. Over time, science has come to explain the main source of this rationality: a brain that is more highly developed than any other species. In fact, some website design strategies are based on the latest findings on the human brain and its inner workings.

As such, it can be interesting to look at different website design strategies that consider the unique characteristics of each part of the brain.

Create a website based on the frontal lobe

The frontal lobe is associated with “executive functions” such as motivation, planning, attention and short-term memory. It considers the options and the consequences of actions.

1. Organize content to stick in your mind

When organizing the different elements presented on a web page, put the most important things at the beginning and the end. The reason for this strategy is that reader attention and retention are much lower in the middle section of a text. As visitors browse the page, the first and last items are more likely to stick in their short-term memory. You have a much better chance of raising curiosity or creating a positive memory with an effective primer than with a central paragraph, no matter how interesting.

Also, don’t include too many items simultaneously. Short-term memory can only store seven items at a time. If your navigation menus include more than seven links, divide them into smaller groups.

2. Take advantage of the brain’s loss aversion

Humans are not effective cost/benefit calculators. We tend to overestimate losses and undervalue earnings. In other words, losses are more painful than gains are pleasant. This loss aversion can be useful to web designers and writers. To take advantage of this characteristic of human reasoning, you should:

  • Highlight the negative impacts of not using your product or service.
  • Group the costs together and list the benefits separately.
  • Focus on immediate gains.
  • Create urgency with limited time offers.
  • If the product is rare, say so.

3. Benefit from the group effect of humans

People tend to do as others do. If you provide evidence that others have chosen you, doing business with you only seems logical. The goal is to give the impression that any decision that doesn’t involve your business is outside the acceptable standard.

That’s a good reason to give weight to your arguments by maximizing the group effect:

  • Customer testimonials or reviews
  • Social media widgets showing your number of subscribers
  • Promotion from relevant influencers
  • Logos from media where your company has been mentioned
  • Trust seals, including memberships, security certificates and awards

These elements greatly enhance the value judgment of your website and business.

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Design content that targets the temporal lobe

Like the frontal lobe, the temporal lobe plays a key role in understanding language. This is where language and meaning are processed.

4. Choose the right words

Navigation buttons and the page writing style should be easy for visitors to understand. Use a common vocabulary that readers will comprehend easily. Avoid long sentences. Do not use jargon. Long sentences and fancy words force the temporal lobe to work harder and discourage many internet users.

Accessible writing for “less educated” users works well for everyone. It’s not about lowering the quality level, it’s about using simple expressions that everyone can understand. Using a high level of language can make you look smart, but it can also create a sense of incompetence in the reader. What you really want is to inspire actions. Unfortunately, users who doubt themselves are unlikely to act. In this sense, be accessible in your writing.

Stimulate the occipital lobe with design

This region is the visual processor of the brain. It manages the perception of space, color and movement.

5. Bank on the right colors

In the 1930s, German scientist Hedwig von Restorff discovered that when given a list of ten items, people remember more about items that are a different color. This is because the occipital lobe is sensitive to visual differences.

Experiments have shown that stand-out colors aren’t just remembered by people, they are clicked: 60% more often!

Choose an action color for all your links, buttons, and mouse-over effects. Opt for a color that stands out from the palette used throughout the design. This action color should be used exclusively on interactive elements.

The amygdala and the emotions a website inspires

The amygdala plays a key role in the formation and storage of emotional memories.

6. Choose evocative titles

Not only are titles the first thing seen on a page, they are looked at more than anything else. These titles can quickly stir emotions. Research shows that titles that inspire strong emotions are shared much more often. Moreover, the three types of emotions most shared online are anxiety, anger and inspiration.

This is why you should try to write titles that trigger very positive (or very negative) emotions, especially for blog posts.


Website creation and web marketing are relatively new and sometimes unpredictable sciences. Like all sciences, they sometimes involve a trial and error strategy. Apply these techniques in your website design and measure their results. You may find that some tips work better than others but keep in mind that any technique that considers brain anatomy is likely to pay off!

Nevertheless, you can count on the My Little Big Web website design team to save you time. Our professionals understand how to harness the instinctive reflexes of Internet users for the benefit of our clients. Don’t hesitate to contact us now.


Cofondateur et Spécialiste Marketing Web

Diplômé d'une double Maîtrise en Marketing et Communication, Maxence cumule plus de 10 ans d'expérience en Marketing digital. Ancien employé de Microsoft, sa mission est de "mettre le Web à la portée de tous" pour aider les entreprises à améliorer leur présence en ligne.

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