The Art of Brain Hacking for Website User Interface (UI) Design

For all intensive purposes, Brain Hacking is the art and science of creating emotion in users that makes a website stand out, easier to use and make a user want to come back.   When you brain hack in website design, you increase time on site, reduce bounce rates, increase conversions and make the website sticky.   All buzz words the essentially say that website is working for you and your business.


Probably the best brain hackers in the business and best example I can think of are casinos.  The entire user experience in a casino is about creating emotion and using how the brain is wired to your advantage.  The lighting, lack of windows, the bleeping sounds and visual stimuli have been highly tested to get the most (money) our of their users.

The same type of techniques can be used in website design to equally create a user experience that stimulates the brain to act in a particular way to get a particular response.

Let's say you have a travel website for a beach resort.   Beach resort travel is all about desire.  So the language and images of the website should be queued to evoke images within the users brain so that they picture themselves on the white sand beach, next to warm crystalline waters (I've always wanted to use the phrase "crystalline waters" in a blog post) with tan tropical bodies, swaying palm trees and the smell of pina coladas and salty sea mixing in the air.  That user needs to be able to picture within their brain our tropical resort.  Did you picture it as you were reading those last couple of sentences.  Where those emotions greater than any picture or text we could put on the web page?  If so, you were brain hacked.   The power of those emotions is far beyond the website design in itself.  Especially if your reaction is based on positive past reactions.

On the Facebook mobile app you see some newer brain hacking going on.  The animated like buttons emojicons took a page right out of the book of the casinos.   The positive reactions to posts with pop-up animations like you hit a jackpot, is very similar to the animations you see on video gaming machines.  Those positive responses create dopamine within the brain and the stimuli gives the user an intermittent positive response and makes the user want to come back.  Dopamine is released during task-based interactions—it’s immediate and fleeting.

Cortisol is the brain's stress drug.  It makes the user feel the need to go back and check their Facebook page to see if people are liking or commenting on their posts.   Cortisol and dopamaine, especially with teenage minds is powerful and impactful in using the brains wiring to deliver a response.  In the case of Facebook, it is about getting eyeballs so they can deliver ads.   In the case of your website, it might mind engaging the user to so they make an ecommerce purchase, give you a call or share a blog post via the social sharing buttons at the bottom of the post (please share this post below ;-)

There are a number of ways to use color, layout, animation, text and images to evoke powerful responses from your users that help them get what they want and drive your business.  Let us know what we can do to help you with your website design.  Contact us for a free consultation.


For more information about this blog or Concrete5 please contact Jamie Johnson or visit his Google+ profile.