24 January 2024
5 mins read

Improving your website conversion funnel by leveraging fundamental human behaviours

Luke Chapman
Luke Chapman
Technology Director

‘Focus on the user at every stage of the funnel’ – it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this isn’t the case. Agendas, internal biases or departmental objectives often creep their way into the design and implementation process, which leads to deviation from the primary focus – the user.

To help stay the course, let’s talk about a few key User Experience principles that you can champion in your projects where human interaction is king.

Before we begin, let’s quickly cover off what a conversion funnel is. A conversion funnel is the journey a customer takes from discovering your product or service to making a purchase. It can be broken down using the AIDA model:


The UX principles below mainly focus on the latter part of the model (Desire and Action). We’ll leave the first two to the Creative Directors of the world (looking at you, Ben).


Cialdini’s Social Proof Principle

Cialdini’s principle of social proof states that individuals that are uncertain will look to others around them for guidance on how to behave. Humans possess an innate desire to conform in a social setting and this taps into that need for validation.

Admit it, you’ve avoided that empty restaurant on the corner for the one with people spilling out on the street – even though you had to endure a 45 minute wait.

In the context of marketing and persuasion, this social phenomenon can become a powerful tool. Examples of ways to introduce social proof include:

  • Testimonials (video testimonials work extremely well)
  • Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Endorsements from celebrities and influencers
  • ‘Customers also purchased..’

Give these some prominence on your product pages.

Von Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff Effect is a phenomenon that predicts that when multiple similar objects are present, the one that differs from the rest is most likely to be remembered. If a person is presented with a list of items where all but one are similar in colour, shape, or size, the one that is different is more likely to be remembered than the others.

This. That. The other. PICK ME!

Human brains often prioritise novelty and uniqueness, and this effect leverages that cognitive bias. You’re still casting one eye at the text above, aren’t you?

Ways to leverage this in a marketing and advertising context include:

  • Highlighting a special offer amongst other offers with a unique design
  • A contrasting call-to-action button
  • Breaking the norm with unconventional visuals or messaging
  • Badges/tags over product images

Jakob’s Law

Jakob’s Law states that users spend most of their time on other websites, not yours. (If you’re Mark Zuckerberg reading this, just ignore this one mate.) The implication is that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know and have learned to use. We are, afterall, creatures of habit.

To help reduce the learning curve, because that’s essentially what you are doing, be sure to implement these basic elements to illicit familiarity:

  • Logo in the top left corner that links to the homepage
  • Navigation menu across the top or down the left side of the page
  • Search bar and/or View cart are typically located in the upper right corner
  • Clickable buttons and links that change appearance when hovered over (this implies an action on click)
  • Contact information in the footer

Cognitive Load Theory

Cognitive Load Theory states that our working memory has a limited capacity to hold and manage new information at any given time (no, you can’t multitask). Once you have exceeded this capacity, your learning and understanding capabilities are severely impaired – this is known as cognitive overload, a term you may have come across before.

The most impactful way to mitigate this is by reducing complexity and introducing simplicity.

Take a look at this page you’re on now. There’s no navigation elements or ads or flashy images.



Just you, and me.



And you’re totally engrossed in this. Right? … Right?

Other ways you can reduce cognitive load are:

  • Creating structure and repetition. Think back to Jakob’s Law – if a user already knows where the navigation bar is, they don’t need to dedicate brain resources to finding and remembering where it is.
  • Consistent branding elements
  • Remove superfluous imagery (helps reduce page load time also)
  • Negative space is your friend, nay, your best friend.

At Windsorborn, we’ve found great success for our clients by utilising these key principles. A recent example is a redesign project for our client, Imar. It’s still early, but we’ve seen some promising improvements to the overall conversion rate by incorporating these in various ways. Take a look for yourself – www.imar.com.au

Interested in how Windsorborn can help improve your conversion funnel?
Get in touch
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