Using the principles of psychology to increase the conversion of sites. Part 2: gestalt psychology, the law of past experience

Original author: Nate Desmond
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Also known as the concept of “mental models”, the law of past experience believes that our previous experience contributes to our interpretation of what is happening.

This law is a little more complicated than it seems at first glance. Past experience is a personal concept, therefore, what acts on one person may not affect another.

A little information

It is rather difficult to assert that the influence of this or that change is caused by this law, but the author believes that this is so. In addition, it is generally accepted that this law is of secondary importance and is easily overlapped by other subpatterns.

Nevertheless, this principle works, and a striking example of its work is that we assign certain values ​​and informativeness to certain colors (the picture above is most likely perceived as a traffic light lying on its side), as well as the ability to extrapolate the information received earlier.

Example No. 1: (49% increase) realized that even a small increase in the number of purchases will significantly affect profit volumes.


They changed the way they presented products and created a new design for the Add to Cart button, but they realized that they could still improve their results.

Options (the authors presented screenshots of pages with various products):

1. Added manufacturer tags ("by Blu Dot x Fab" and "by Qualy")

2. Changed the call to action ("Add to Cart" and "+ Cart")

Option 2 led to an increase of 15%. A modest but still significant result.

Option 1 really surprised. A simple description and a button with the words "Add to Cart" increased the growth by 49%!

What could cause such a big growth?

In fact, everything is very simple. The cart icon misled the buyer. For a long time using various online stores, such an image began to be associated with the state of the basket, and not with the add to basket button.

Example 2: TycoonU (130% increase)

TycoonU had a big problem: 80% of potential customers interrupted the checkout process. Therefore, they decided to completely revise their checkout interface.


In the second version, several key elements were used:

• Separation into columns
• Security icons (increase the level of trust)
• Chat window (answers to emerging questions)
• Phone number (increases confidence and allows you to get answers to some questions)

As in most tests, this result cannot be attributed to one psychological principle: it is a mixture of dozens of factors, but two basic principles are of the greatest importance. Firstly, the overall design and individual elements (such as images, credit card badges and security service symbols) correspond to the past experience of the buyer, unlike the previous form, which looked empty and did not look like usual forms of payment. Secondly, the McAfee symbol, BBB confirmation, and other confirmations help increase user confidence.

Example No. 3: AMD (3600% increase)

/ * Note from the translator :

Perhaps this example is quite controversial for several reasons:

- at the moment, on the AMD website, the “share” buttons remained only on the blog, while their location was changed (the buttons are located at the top and bottom of the articles);

- “sharing” buttons have a recognizable design, which, according to the same law of previous experience, will dominate over such an element as location.

Most likely, the result was that in the new design the buttons became more noticeable, although the author also takes this into account. * /

AMD do not use their site to sell goods. Instead, they use it as a platform for product promotion and technical customer support.

They had a set of social sharing buttons, but marketers began to wonder if they could increase the number of citations in social networks by moving or changing buttons.

As an experienced Internet user, you subconsciously expect to find sharing buttons in specific places. For example, it is more likely that the buttons located on the side panel will be used than those located in the basement of the site.

To highlight the optimal position of the buttons on the site, they conducted several tests (the buttons were located on the left, bottom and right, the sizes and design of the buttons also varied).


The winning version shows a 36-fold improvement in the benchmark.

How could such a slight change cause such an effect?

Firstly, the new icons and placement meet the expectations of users, since many sites use similar placement. Secondly, the floating icons on the left side became more visible, many people did not even scroll far enough to see the icons hidden at the bottom of the site.

In addition, this arrangement coincides with the “F” form of eye movement of the average user. (If you are in a country that reads from right to left, the right side is probably the best option)

Example No. 4: Veeam Software (161% increase)

Veeam Software planned to increase conversion rates, but they did not want to rush from element to element, trying to guess what will help to achieve success. Instead, they decided to find out the opinions of their customers through a survey.

The study also asked the question: “What other information would you like to see on this page?”

Analyzing the results, Veeam Software noticed that many users asked for more information about pricing and pricing. And this despite the fact that the page already had a link to price information in the “Request a quote” section.

Realizing the importance of using the client language, Veeam Software decided to conduct a very simple test: they changed the words “Request a quote” to “Request pricing”.


Changing these two words increased page clickthrough rate by 161%!

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