The Five Senses of Web Design

A picture is worth a thousand words, but what does that mean for your website?

Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words, but did you know that images are processed 60,000 times faster than text in the human brain? If used correctly, the images on your website can have more of an affect on your customers than pages and pages of text.
This perhaps goes someway to explaining why photo-sharing sites like Pinterest have become so popular. Pinterest currently has 70 million users and is used by 500,000 businesses for marketing purposes.
Part of the reason for the power of imagery is the fact that visual stimulation is directly linked to our other sensory processes. When we see an image, we begin a neurological process that organizes sensation from our eyes and transfers it to the other four senses; sound, touch, smell, taste. This is the explanation behind why our mouth begins to salivate when we see a juicy lemon or a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
Remember the story about Pavlov’s dog? This experiment into classical conditioning demonstrates the power that sensual association can have. During the 1890s, psychologist Ivan Pavlov conducted an experiment in which he rang a bell before feeding his dogs. After a while, when Pavlov rang the bell, the dogs would salivate without seeing any food. Our brains perform a similar function and it’s this that can be utilized in web design to make your pages have a greater effect on your customers.
fish 2
Take the following series of photos. Did you wrinkle your nose when you saw the above image of fish?


Did you think of warm winter evenings when you saw these gooey cookies?


Can you hear the music in this image?
If the above affected you in any way, you’ll have first hand experience of the power that pictures can have on your website. In the same way that images cause our stomachs to rumble when we are hungry, we to learn to recognize brands. Colors, shapes and images are used and repeated to create a conditional response in our brains. Logos are a major influence in marketing because of this reason. Many companies have been able to re-invent their image after facing a major business interruption; these campaigns almost always begin with a new logo, brand, mascot, or signature colors.
Therefore, when choosing images for your website, keep in mind the message you are sending to your readers. Ask questions like, ‘What emotion am I trying to invoke?’ and ‘Does this image match the reputation I’m trying to build?’ and ‘Do the images I present create positive sensory processes?’. If they don’t, think again about using them, because they could deter customers rather than attract them.
Create your own sensory awareness web site with our easy to use web builder at the web design page of the Midphase website. For more tips on how website design can benefit your business check out this Midphase blog.