How and Why Design Impacts User Decisions

Design is an interesting element whether for tangible goods or not. In the tangible goods industry, packaging design can sometimes affect potential buyers to purchase a specific item, or to deter them from that specific item.

For example, if you are shopping for a food product, and you notice two different brands with two different container designs, you will most likely take the item with the better-looking design, as you immediately think the actual product would be better.

Similarly, in the web industry, the design of a website influences how the user or viewer reacts and uses your website or service. Furthermore, we discuss several elements and case scenarios that prove that design impacts user decisions.

Why Do We Implement Designs to Our Websites?

How and Why Design Impacts User Decisions

This is usually a common question that generally needs to be answered to better understand the concept of design influencing user decisions. As a developer, we create a system of functions that act in different ways to complete a process. For example, developing a buy and sell marketplace system for users involves backend functionality as well as front-end functionality.

The front-end functionality is what users will interact with to use your system. However, if no layout or design is put together to organize this front-end functionality, it makes it very difficult to near impossible to use and browse about for all of us whether you developed it or not.

With that said, by implementing design into our websites we are structuring functions within our system for the human to easily comprehend and navigate about. Therefore, without some sort of design, a website becomes very hard to work with, and that is why we implement design or designs to our websites.

Smooth Sailing

We all like to sail smoothly and avoid the rough seas, and so do users when they surf the web. A direct and organized design putting features and tools in hierarchy order for users to locate them quickly and easily helps enhance their surfing experience, which influences on how they use your service, or how they shop.

For example, if you own an ecommerce site and you have a difficult to work with design in terms of adding items to a basket as well as finding the checkout button, users will be less inclined to shop more, even if they may have been in need of more items.

They will purchase the items that are necessary to them during that time being, and purchase the other items at a later date from a different merchant, or, they may find a different merchant altogether.

Therefore, the better the surfing experience, the more users will be influenced positively around your website.

Intriguing Design

How and Why Design Impacts User Decisions

Going back to the tangible goods packaging design example, where the design of the package influences the buyer, the same situation applies to design.

When creating a design for your website, you need to assure you use colors as well as a theme that fit the website’s genre. For example, if I am visiting an online forum that discusses video games, I, as a forum user, want to see this website really express its dedication to gaming by targeting hardcore gamers.

If I do not see such, I am less intrigued by the image it is trying to express and would rather go somewhere else for my forum needs.

Furthermore, an enticing design that expresses the website’s main purpose, goal, or genre, is usually what keeps more users coming back. You definitely would not buy the iPhone if it did not look as sleek as it does despite the features it may have; get my drift?

User Interface

The user interface of a website makes a huge impact on how users react, use, or browse about your website. If the user interface is very intuitive, they will most likely stick around browsing about for longer period of time because of the intuitiveness which could increase conversion rates.

The way a user interface may be put together really depends on the targeted audience and the genre of the website. If your website is all about crazy delicious candies, the user interface would need to be geared towards creativity and crazy concoctions, something sort of like a puzzle or maze that attracts the children to browse about a candy haven.

This not only targets your audience, it also keeps them entertained as they browse through the website, which leads to greater conversion rates, which means that design including the user interface impacts the way users react and act on your website.

Design Compatibility

How and Why Design Impacts User Decisions

When designing, completing the design and getting it fully coded is not where you end but rather also getting the design working with many other platforms and or browsers.

While different design variations caused due to browser issues may not technically be referred to as intended design features, however, users and viewers generally do not actually know that and will take it as if it was put together in such a way, which influences their decisions when surfing your website.

Therefore, after completing the design and getting it coded, start checking throughout a genre of platforms and popular browsers to assure your coded design remains constant without unprecedented variations between viewing them in each.

Moreover, if certain variations between different platforms and browsers cause certain linking functions to overlap or disappear, it can affect your conversion rates negatively as users cannot use your website or service as needed or intended, leading them to confusion, or to leave your service or website in search of another.

Your Turn To Talk

To conclude, as a designer and when designing certain websites, your goal cannot just be to make a website aesthetically pleasing, but also to make the functions of your website easier to work with, and to integrate them together to appear as a whole system rather than appear as multiple pieces that do not connect.

With that in mind, we are not saying to eliminate the aesthetics point of design, but rather to keep an even balance of thinking about both. As with design, focusing fully on aesthetics can result with poor user interface results and vice versa.

What do you think? Please take a minute to chime in and leave a comment below :)


  1. Andrew Searles says

    Yeah I agree with you. I would add that design in all forms, including web design, is about solving problems. User Experience and User Interface are the same thing. That’s what makes it so much fun. The problem is you have this information and you want to get it to the user. The problem is solved by captivating you specific audience while making the information as easy to get to and navigate as possible.

    So yeah what you said only with a problem-solving angle.

  2. says

    One of the simple tests I do with my designs is to think like the consumer and visualize what I’d want out of the ‘site experience’, by answering some basic questions like where I’d expect to find certain features.

    Design without functionality is just eyecandy

  3. says

    “Design without functionality is just eyecandy”
    Yes, to a certain degree but I wouldn’t discount the eye candy part of the equation. Functionality is the left brain, eye candy is the subconscious right. The first gets things done, the second forms the impression.

  4. says

    Very good post. Design is much more than “look good”. It is all about functionality, target, project. You can’t deassociate it to design, cause it is the same thing!

  5. says

    You talk about design, but ease of use is about usability. The stairs that you show in the article are a counter-example. They are very difficult to use, because they violate all of the users expectations about the spacing and proportion of stairs. Think about the last time that you used stairs that did not follow the usual proportion. Trip and stumble much? Have the think about every step? Poor step design. Visually appealing and useful can happen in the same design. But one does not imply the other.

  6. says

    This is a great article. Design impacts a lot for me. It can keep my attention or make me loose interest quickly. I learned a lot from your post and I hope to read some more from you.


  1. How and Why Design Impacts User Decisions…

    Design is an interesting element whether for tangible goods or not. In the tangible goods industry, packaging design can affect potential buyers to purchase a specific item, or to deter them from that item….

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