5 ways to inspire an emotional response from your users

Posted by Emma Hughes on 09 March 2017
Filed under: emotions, experience, user, Web

Not everyone is always willing to admit it, but as human beings, emotion drives our decisions more than we might think.  We make purchases and engage with products based on how we feel and are more likely to continue to do so if using it makes us feel good.  Websites are no exception to this rule and appealing to the emotions of your web users is an important and effective tool to drive engagement and provide a great user experience.  Below are five different things to consider when looking to emotionally appeal to your users.


There are myriad resources out there which dive deeply into the details of colour theory, and which emotional responses most commonly arise from what shades.  Colour psychology is an entire discipline in itself!  Needless to say, as well as being applicable in terms of interior design, graphic design and other real, tangible parts of our environment, the same principles apply to websites and the online experience.  Check out the graphic below from The Logo Company to see how common brands have utilised specific colours to invoke the desired response:



What does your font say about your website?  It’s important for any content on your site to be readable, but font choice goes a lot further than that.  Just a simple font swap can change the overall feel of your site completely – and can either make or break your design.  Some fonts are considered standard and more traditional, such as Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman, but while there is safety in the use of these standard fonts, they can also appear boring. Using a different font can make your page stand out and appeal to your users, and your choice of font weight can also make a big impact – lighter weighted fonts contribute to a cleaner, more minimalistic design and give the impression of being more modern and up to date, whereas bold, chunky lettering almost always appears more friendly and casual.

Tone of voice

In both copy and images, your tone of voice is important.  How you write the content of your site will impact directly on your customers’ experience, and the photography that you use must compliment this in terms of both subject material and style.  Photography that works with your brand guidelines and is in line with your vision will help affirm your values and resonate immediately with your users.  An example of a clever marketing technique which creates instant appeal is to feature smiling people in your photography – it’s in our instincts to smile in return.  In a similar vein, using humour is a great way to appeal to your users if it is in line with your brand.  A website that makes people laugh is easily remembered and often shared on social media.


Animations and transitions can give your website a huge boost in terms of the impression it leaves on visitors. Taking the time to craft even simple transitions or hover effects can elevate your design to something which feels tangible, professional, and expensive.  Simple animations which fade parts of your site into view as the user scrolls can invoke feelings of surprise and delight, and techniques such as parallax scrolling and 3D effects can intrigue users into spending extra time exploring.

White Space

Just as the elements of your site themselves are important to consider when appealing to the emotions of your users, white space is also important.  How much or how little white space is reserved will impact the overall look and feel of your site – namely whether it appears light and clean, minimalistic, balanced or busy.  Adult users can become easily frustrated with sites that are too crowded, but sites intended for kids are much better able to get away with this, as fun and busy sites are exciting and engaging for younger minds.  Minimal designs give the impression of clean, cutting-edge design.

Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes

Emma is a our graphic designer. As part of the Professional Services team Emma's job involves creating modern web designs for clients based on their brief ensuring their brand is showcased in the best possible way. Emma turns those designs into stunning responsive templates for the team and then supports our implementations.

Emma's originally from New Zealand and lives her life by Tim Gunn's mantric advice (make it work!). In her spare time she likes to game and write modern fantasy fiction. Her favourite cooking show is My Kitchen Rules Australia.  She LOVES cats.

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