How Fluent is Your Website?
Today’s inspiration comes courtesy of a recent Digital Telepathy article that explores the links between UX design and neuromarketing research. While the topics of neuromarketing and UX design may seem intimidating on the surface, there are plenty of basic concepts that you can leverage to help take your website performance to the next level. Today, our focus is on the use of fluent and disfluent type formatting and how users respond differently to each.
What makes type fluent or disfluent?
Type that uses a fluent formatting is easy to read - think simplistic serif fonts using black text on a white background. Facebook is a popular example of this. On the flip side, type that uses disfluent formatting might consist of script-y or otherwise hard to read fonts, as well as light text on a dark background. Basically, the harder type is to read, the more disfluent it becomes.
This is an important distinction, as it has been proven that users reveal more information about themselves when interacting with a site with fluent formatting (again, Facebook is a great example of this). In fact, in three separate studies, participants that interacted with sites featuring disfluent elements tended to hide their flaws and to consider risk and concern more readily.
Key Takeaway: If you want people to engage with response-driven content, make it fluent.
But is that the whole story?
Your first reaction might be to think that disfluent design needs to be avoided altogether, but here’s where it gets really interesting: Content that is presented in a disfluent format was more easily recalled in several studies. It turns out that when users must struggle to work their way through content that is hard to read, they are able to recall that content much more easily than fluent content. This is extremely useful for getting your big ideas embedded in the brains of your audience.
Key Takeaway: If you want to ingrain information for memorization or recall, make it disfluent.
Finding Your Balance
Based on the research, it is clear that a balance needs to be struck between fluent and disfluent formatting. Finding this balance will depend on your unique site goals, whether that be encouraging user engagement or sales on your e-commerce website or driving home important big ideas about your brand on your informational based site. These are strategic design decisions that we at NK think about for each and every piece of work that we touch. Even as experts, we need to continue to do our homework and studies like the ones referenced in this post inspire us to think more deeply about how users will interact with our design work.
We’d love to talk to you about how neuromarketing concepts or other cutting edge research can be applied to improve the performance of you website. Let’s start the conversation today.