Using the principles of psychology to increase the conversion of sites. Part 5: face effect

Original author: Nate Desmond
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All people subconsciously observe others. Every time we come across someone's portrait, we examine it and draw a conclusion about the emotions that this person experiences. Almost always, this happens completely unconsciously.

Human faces can increase the number of transitions in two ways:

1. Attraction of attention

Portraits almost always attract attention better than any other design element. This makes them a great way to attract users to key elements of the site. A great solution would be a person looking at the element that you want to highlight, the user will surely follow the look and stumble upon what is needed.

2. Stimulating emotions

We are all “experts” in reading human emotions. If the person on the site looks really happy or sad, we can probably feel the same way. But be careful, excessive expression of emotion creates the effect of fake and unreliability.

A little information

The use of portraits in the design of the site includes several mechanisms of influence at once:

- Social proof

The basis of this effect is the opinion that people around us can be informed much better than we are. It is this mechanism that makes us look around, in the case when we do not know what to do.
Social proof underlies the effectiveness of reviews as a conversion tool and other methods that demonstrate that "others use this product, so you should use it."

- "Expert opinion"

A special case of the use of social evidence. The basis of this approach is the belief that there is a group of people who specializes in this issue (this product, in this area) and she is ready to share with us information about this best and most proven product.

The photograph of a representative person, next to his quote that “we checked ... and made sure that ... the best” looks quite impressive for many and can be a significant factor in making decisions, while remembering that the extremes in use this tool can also lead to negative results.

- Mirror neurons

Example No. 1: Highrise (+ 102.5%)

We already talked about Highrise in the first part of this article. Having received a 37.5% increase in CTR due to the simplification of their design, they did not stop there.

In the next test, in combination with a simplified form, we used a photo of a girl who looks quite happy.


This change helped increase conversions by 102.5% compared to the base case. Subsequent tests, which tested different versions of portraits, showed similar results with a deviation of 5%

Example No. 2: Medalia Art (95.4% growth) The

online art store Medalia Art posted some of the profiles of its artists on the main page. New visitors had the opportunity to immediately go to the page of an individual artist, view the paintings and purchase them.

In the original version, one of the artist's works was used to represent the portfolio in the list. During the testing, a photograph of the artist himself was chosen as the cover for the portfolio.


The result was a rapid increase in CTR of 95.4%.

When it comes to art, people rarely buy the product itself; they buy the history of the product. Using photographs of authors on the site allowed Medalia Art to begin telling this story to its visitors.

Example No. 3: Harrington Movers (45.45% growth)

At the beginning of the article, we already said that the portrait used should be credible.

Harrington Movers originally used a photo of a smiling couple with boxes. In general, photography was not specifically related to this carrier, but could illustrate the activities of any enterprise that works in this area.


In search of a solution that will increase conversion rates, a decision was made to test two design options:

1. Option with a photo of the company’s employees;
2. Moving truck company.

Both options significantly improved conversions (45.45% and 45.05%, respectively). This is proved by the fact that not all photos are equally effective for increasing the return on the site.

A few words about why the photo of the truck turned out to be more effective than the original version:

1. The photo of the truck, with the company logo on the body, significantly increases the level of trust in the site, proving that the company at least exists;

2. Users who plan to transport their things can clearly associate themselves with this truck: “Oh, there may be my things.”


The above examples are just isolated cases that have confirmed assumptions based on theories and principles. But the problem is that the result of using various techniques can be completely unexpected.

Firstly, not all of these techniques work the same way, and if you have a specific audience, you should consider this when designing your site. Secondly, when you make changes in order to use the effect of a principle or law, you may accidentally violate some other law, the negative impact of which will exceed the positive effect of the changes.

When planning the implementation of such methods in your design, it is worthwhile to conduct a comprehensive analysis and a full assessment of each of the proposed options. In addition, today there are ample opportunities for A / B analysis and other ways to evaluate page performance and you simply must use them extensively if you want to achieve real results.

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