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Online Persuasion – Brains have the need for novelty and shortcuts

These are notes are from the Conversion Conference in Chicago.  The keynote speaker was Tim Ash.

People love shortcuts and the least amount of work.  Reptilian or lizard brain is what is built in naturally to your brain.

  • Lizard/reptilian brain – its lazy.  Comes from your brain stem and wants simple choices.  It sees black and white and is very impatient.  The brain forms its first impression of a website in just 50ms.  5 second page load times are not ok.  Brain does things automatically.  Change is scary and is usually be bad.
  • When a decision is needed to be made your brain goes through the process of. Is it dangerous? If not then is it novel? If so then explore it.
  • Fight – Is it dangerous?  Then fight for you life.
  • Flee – Run away if you can.
  • Feed – Can I get something from it?  Cravings and needs fall into this category.
  • Fornicate – reproduction is a built in instinct.

They eyes have it – understanding the power of visuals.  Most of your brain is dedicated to visual inputs.

  • Eyes automatically scan for most interesting part of a scene.  Brain puts together many tiny detailed images to build the large image.
  • Visual attention prediction approaches – Eye tracking and mouse tracking of a website are good ways to measure how people scan your page.  85% correlation between eye and mouse.  There is also software algorithms (75% accuracy) and software.  This is less accurate but a great way to quickly go through many versions of a page.
  • Put what is most important on a page in high contrast and in the center of the page.  Your brain has to deal with this.  Purposefully make the outside components like your site template, search boxes and menus blend in so it doesn’t compete with the call to action.  Here is an example http://sitetuners.com/small-businesses/landing-page-fix/.
  • Motion triggers your lizard brain. This is usually bad on your page.  Rods automatically react to motion.  Anything that distracts for the decision to click on a call to action should be removed from the page.
  • Most sites use video poorly. The best practice for video is to use a thumbnail where you have to click the image on to view.  You should not have player embedded  and especially never auto play audio or video. Open in a lightbox player with high-res video that can go full screen.
  • People like images of other people.  People get assigned to emotions very easily.  Don’t use people and emotional images without a purpose.

Make an emotional connection on your page.

  • Dress nice – Make a good first impression with your site.  Look good because people will notice.
  • Be in my cultural tribe – Be like me and I will feel comfortable.  You care about what your peers think.  Your site needs to speak to your users using imagery and design they relate to and copy that they understand.
  • Everybody is doing it – We follow what other people do.  Emotional short cut because everyone is doing it.  Mozilla example – 500 million downloads and who is downloading it right now on a map.
  • Personalize it – Make your site just for me.  Social tools are a great way to do this.  Your friends are doing this.