The idea of great digital content design often varies from person to person. Ask a graphic designer, and you might get an answer involving color theory or golden ratios. Programmers might go into the details of SEO, structured metadata, or page loading times. All of these things are certainly important, but what about content that requires action from visitors? Creating content with a purpose means that the design of said content requires a different thought process. You have to pay attention to the desired behavior or action, and how the content persuades consumers.
When you are looking to get a specific action out of your audience, you are looking for a behavioral change. In content and web design, research from Stanford University and the University of Arizona has found that various design choices can influence behavior. Researchers have termed this “credibility-based design”, but the idea goes well beyond the issue of credibility. You can design to promote or restrict certain actions. The first trick is to know what actions you are targeting.
All successful market, content, and web designers have an end goal in mind for their audience. This might be a specific call to action or general purpose of some digital content. If you are creating digital content for marketing purposes, then chances are this overall purpose involves purchasing a good or a service. An action might also include registration or subscription, or sharing some kind of information through social media.
Whatever the action(s) may be, you need to have a clear idea of what the action is, and how your users can successfully take such action through the content design. A user journey can help with this: map out step by step where users have to go; what they have to do; and what they must read/share from the time they encounter the content, to the point of reaching the specific action. Once you have this general map laid out, you will have some helpful information in planning out the persuasively designed elements in your content/site structure.
With an end goal in mind, you now have enough information to figure out how to persuade content consumers to behave in accordance with that goal. Dr. BJ Fogg from Stanford University states that several things can influence the likeiness of a certain behavior. First, the skill level to do the behavior, and the motivation to do the behavior, both play a shared role. For example, if someone has the skills, but lacks motivation, then a behavior is unlikely. The same is true in the reverse. If, however, the person has a high degree of skill and motivation, then the desired behavior is more likely.
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Second, Dr. Fogg argues that specific triggers are required to “seal the deal” with the behavior. These triggers are specific things that may directly or indirectly encourage a user to act. Together, along with specific methods of increasing user motivation, these persuasive elements can be designed into the content.
- Call to actions and other direct triggers within content can be effective for desired actions.
- User incentives can increase user motivation.
- The functionality of your website, or the user journey you setup for a desired action can naturally increase a user’s skill level.
- For a more detailed walk through of persuasive design, use Dr. Fogg’s “Behavior Wizard” for step by step guidance.
An other form of persuasive design is meant to boost the credibility of the business, person, or cause that might have a social media presence, website, or branded content. Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong, and the University of Arizona tested a variety of logos and web designs to determine what design factors would psychologically increase the credibility and trustworthiness of a fictional company. From their research, they came up with several design principles you can apply in logo, website, and content work:
- Incorporate elements of a company’s expertise into the logo/web design.
- Incorporate traits of trustworthiness into the logo/web design.
- Follow design principles that lead to clear and simple logos websites.
- Have the logo, website, and any other branding/digital material follow a same unified design style.
Between boosting your credibility and designing your website or content to persuasively encourage/restrict certain behaviors, you can take control of your digital viral presence in a smart, strategic way.
Article originally published on Viral.Works
This article is an original contribution by Austin Fracchia.
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Article source: http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/boosting-viral-credibility-persuasive-digital-design-01021051