A dazzling website is about much more than just delivering content, function and looking good. When visitors come to your website, they instantly establish a first impression and a set of feelings about your website and business.

Emotional design has become a powerful tool in creating exceptional user experiences for websites. However, emotions did not use to play such an important role on the web. In fact, they didn’t use to play any role at all; rather, they were drowned out by a flood of rational functionality and efficiency. We were so busy trying to adapt to the web as a new medium that we lost sight of its full potential.

Today, user experience goes hand in hand with emotive impact. UX has been around for generations, but we are only now starting to reveal its full future on the web. A great example of this is Facebook. It wasn’t the first social network, I remember my MySpace account fondly, but its approach to simplicity in its UX and personalisation has been instrumental to its growth. 

How to build emotion into your website

A website usually includes several elements that can make a design more personal and can be regarded as emotion carriers. Some of these are obvious, such as colors, images and content. Others are not so obvious, such as engagement, tone of voice and humour.

People think they act consciously when they go shopping or use a website. However, studies have revealed that 95 percent of all purchasing decisions – online as well as offline – are based on emotional impulses.

Engage with the user

Carry out customer research to understand the personas that visit your website and how they engage and interact around the site in a positive way.

Look at different ways that you can push emotional triggers. Good examples of websites that do this well are booking.com and Groupon. You feel like you are getting a really good deal and time is limited so you might miss out. Emotional triggers are being used, such as ‘high demand – only 1 room left on our site’, ‘you missed it! We have reserved our last available room at this property’, ‘limited availability’ and ‘over 1,000 bought’.

If you use a system like Kentico EMS, you can target your users with this very specific approach.

Tone of voice

The tone of voice you use on your website is an important emotional factor. How you communicate with users says a lot about your relationship with them and builds a story. While you communicate certain messages through words, your tone of voice reveals what you think of them and also what you want them to think of you.

Your tone of voice strongly determines your first impression. If you wrap a serious message in a humorous story, users might not take you seriously. On the other hand, if you try to sell something fun and your tone of voice is too serious, users might not take you seriously either.


Humor is an effective way to connect with people. A good laugh or even a little smile can break the ice and make people feel comfortable, whether it’s on the street, in the company of friends or on your website.

When using humour on your website, think a couple of things through before launching. The foundation of design that was discussed earlier is important here. Knowing your users and the context of use will help you determine whether people will actually share your sense of funny.

Emotional design has many qualities. We become more creative if we are confronted with something that we find attractive. This creativity helps us solve problems more easily, by understanding the underlying motivations of users when developing websites. Emotions also give us positive experiences, making us happier and giving us better returning users, so go and embrace it on your website!

I think user psychology will become increasingly important within our industry and I for one am very excited about that.

Profile shown on thefacebook in 2005 – Image source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook 


Profile page 2015