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What Makes People Tick?

A Guide for Designers

R Proffitt
by Richard Proffitt
iopan design

This article is based on the book “100 THINGS EVERY DESIGNER NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PEOPLE” by Susan Weinschenk, PhD. If you are interested in psychology and design, then I highly recommend that you purchase this book as it is a treasure trove of well researched information about how people respond to design. I have outlined below many of the points covered in the book along with my own observations and comments.


1. SEEING

  • WHAT YOU SEE, ISN'T WHAT YOUR BRAIN ‘SEES’
  • PERIPHERAL VISION IS USED MORE THAN CENTRAL VISION TO GET THE GIST OF WHAT YOU SEE
  • PEOPLE IDENTIFY OBJECTS BY RECOGNIZING PATTERNS
  • THERE’S A SPECIAL PART OF THE BRAIN JUST FOR RECOGNIZING FACES
  • PEOPLE IMAGINE OBJECTS TILTED AND AT A SLIGHT ANGLE ABOVE
  • PEOPLE SCAN SCREENS BASED ON PAST EXPERIENCE AND EXPECTATIONS
  • PEOPLE SEE CUES THAT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO WITH AN OBJECT
  • PEOPLE CAN MISS CHANGES IN THEIR VISUAL FIELDS
  • PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THINGS THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER BELONG TOGETHER
  • RED AND BLUE TOGETHER ARE HARD ON THE EYES
  • NINE PERCENT OF MEN AND ONE-HALF PERCENT OF WOMEN ARE COLOR-BLIND
  • THE MEANINGS OF COLORS VARY BY CULTURE

2. READING

Google XML Sitemaps is another very useful SEO plugin for WordPress. The plugin helps the search engines like like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. to better index your site with a special XML sitemap.

As you activate the plugin, it will automatically create an XML sitemap for your site making it easy to index. A sitemap enables the search engine bots view the complete structure of your website and retrieve the results more efficiently.

The plugin notifies all the major search engines every time you publish something on your site.


3. REMEMBERING

WP-Optimize is a great tool for cleaning up WordPress database and optimizing WordPress. It automatically removes the unnecessary data from the WordPress without manual queries. The plugin always keeps your database optimized for the best performance.

There may be a lot of useless data in your website which weighs down your site while you may not be even aware of it. With the plugin installed, you have lots of work done automatically. It removes all the spammy and un-approved comments, trash posts, and comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks etc. It will keep your database always clean and optimized.


4. THINKING

You might have seen extra pieces of information like star ratings, images, number of reviews etc. below some of the pages on the search results. They provide further information about the post/ page which users may want to know. Such brief extracts/ pieces of information like ratings are called Rich Snippets.

Rich snippets are the best way to beautify the appearance of your page/ post on search engine result pages. The snippets provide the main information about the product/ page briefly i.e. highlight the attractions of the product. This is why they help you get more click through rates through search engines.

To create rich snippets in WordPress website, you can use the handy plugin All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets. It provides the search engines with the precise information to be displayed in the search engine result pages. This helps your site rank better as well as get more click through rates.


5. FOCUSING ATTENTION

If you have a lot of images used in your site, it may take hours to load. That is annoying to users which often results in higher bounce rates. However, there is a solution to every problem and mostly in WordPress. Lazy loading is the mantra to make your site load faster with lots of images in the page.

To add lazy loading functionality in WordPress site, you can use a plugin like BJ Lazy Load. The plugin replaces all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to entering the browser screen. It displays the content (images) only when a user scrolls the page. Therefore, your site loads faster as well as saves bandwidth.

In addition, it works with text widgets, embedded videos from YouTube, Vimeo etc. It is a great plugin for website performance optimization and SEO.


6. MOTIVATION

You might have a great website with a remarkable number of daily visitors and doing a good business too. But have you ever thought about how users will react if they landed on a broken page? You can make a guess – that’s how you lose the possible customer as well as create a worse impression about your site. That’s devastating – you hate broken links.

And, here is good news – a handy plugin will monitor your website for all the broken links. Just install the free plugin Broken Link Checker and take a nice nap because it will do the job automatically. The plugin checks all your posts, comments and other content for broken links and instantly notifies you if any are found. In addition, it reports on the missing images as well so that you fix them quickly.

Furthermore, the plugin has options to prevent search engines from following the broken links, display the broken links differently etc. You can get notifications either via email or WP dashboard.


7. SOCIABILITY

Undoubtedly, social media is the most populated platform in the recent years. The number of social media users is ever increasing – more people obtain news and other information through social media. So, social media marketing is a vital part of content marketing these days. To boost your social media marketing, you can use a social media plugin like Social Icons.

Social Icons is a free WordPress plugin which provides you an easy way to display popular social icons on your website. You can add social media icons to the pages or posts via widgets or shortcodes. The plugin supports over 100 popular social media platforms. It is simple and easy to use. You can instantly install the plugin and add social media icons in beautiful layouts.

The plugin offers further customization options for the icons – resizing the icons, square or rounded or grayscale background icon layouts etc. It supports drag and drop icon sorting which makes your task much easier.


8. FEELING

As the name suggests, Disable Comments is useful to globally disable comments on your entire site or certain post types. Considering that all the pages/ posts are not likely to accept user comments, the plugin provides an easy solution for disabling comments on post types, pages, and attachments. Besides, comments sometimes contain spam and unnecessary stuff.

In addition, the plugin provides an option to remove all the comment-related items from the Dashboard, widgets, Admin menu, and Admin Bar. It provides full-fledged features that you need to avoid comment spamming.


9. ERRORS

There are times when you have to change the permalinks of your posts/ pages but you forget to redirect them. That is when users will land on a not available page following the old URL which doesn’t exist anymore. And, it is another way you are making your visitors upset.

In such cases, Redirection is the right plugin to pick. It helps you to manage all the 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors. The plugin automatically adds a 301 redirection when a post’s URL changes whereas you can also add 301, 302, and 307 redirections manually for a post. You can redirect all the URLs and also have full logs for all redirected URLs.

Redirection is mainly useful when you are migrating pages from an old website, or changing the directory of WP installation.


10. DECISIONS

Akismet is yet another plugin developed by the people behind WordPress (Matt and his team at Automattic). It is one of the default plugins of WordPress that comes with every new WordPress core installation. It is basically an anti-spam plugin which checks all comments and filters out the spammy comments.

The plugin provides a status history for each comment so that you can learn which comments were found spammy by Akismet or the moderator. Moderators also can view the number of approved comments for each user, see the URLs in the comment body and remove the suspicious links.

The plugin is free for the personal site and blogs while you have to subscribe its monthly plans for commercial sites. The premium plans provide advanced security solution besides spam protection.

It is a useful plugin to protect your WP security.

The Best WordPress Plugins

And they were best WordPress plugins that every website needs in my view. As stated above, these plugins provide the basic features, improve the site SEO, optimize speed, harden security and help to market your content and products in a better way.

Master online branding. Online branding makes you known for something specific by people who have not even seen you physically, before.

Israelmore Ayivor in Shaping the Dream

Look below to view more WordPress articles; including ‘How to Set up a WordPress Store’.

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