Persuasion is everything in design

Persuasion has become a routine part of our daily lives – whether your friends or children are persuading you to do something, or a politician is persuading you to vote – persuasion is all around. Aside from family, friends and politicians, did you ever think that you’re being persuaded by brands, too?

Richard Perloff’s The Dynamics of Persuasion lists the following five ways to understanding persuasion, particularly how good web design is used to enhance a brand:

  • Persuasion is communication. At its core, persuasion needs a strong, clear message sent from one party to another.
  • Persuasion is an attempt to influence. Understanding your audience and what makes them tick makes your attempt more likely to succeed—though the outcome is never guaranteed.
  • Persuasion involves more than words. Aesthetics, interactions, ease of use, and other factors can make a website or application more persuasive to potential users.
  • Persuasion is not coercion. It is up to individuals to form or change their own attitudes. Utilizing dark patterns or purposely tricking a user into doing something they wouldn’t otherwise do is not persuasion. It’s being an asshole.
  • Persuasion can reinforce attitudes. Your audience has opinions that need to be strengthened from time to time. If you don’t preach to the choir, someone else will, and eventually your faithful followers will be led astray.

If you’re looking to enhance your brand and effectively persuade consumers through good web design, you need to account for the following elements:

  • Message: promotion of the site, what’s being said, marketing efforts, content, and copy
  • Design: attractive design, visual hierarchy, navigation, and layout
  • Delivery: ease of navigation, load time, user experience, rewards, and bells and whistles

With these points, are there any websites you think succeed in persuading consumers through design?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.



  1. Thanks for the good post. I agree that persuasion, if done correctly, is a powerful force. In order to correctly persuade people, one needs to understand the automatic tendencies of people. This is typically in their subconscious. To answer your question, I think a powerful and persuasive site is Trip Advisor.


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