Mental Models and Familiarity in Web Design

mental webdesign

mental webdesignOne common mistake in web design and development is attempting to make a website too unique. While this will surely make the website stand out from the rest, it is also a rather ineffective tactic if you do not do it right—mainly because of the mental models.

The human brain creates images to represent different aspects of life and the world. The images or representations are called mental models, which signify the thought process of how something works. These provide a deeper understanding of people’s motivations and emotional responses.

Mental Models in the Online World

People have developed an idea of how things should work in the digital world. Online mental models give you a better idea of what a website should look like. This is why it is important to plan or create a new website with users in mind. Users should feel familiar and comfortable even if they have only been browsing for a few seconds. Familiarity may result in reduced bounce rates.

The Brain is Too Attached

Mental models affect how people accept or reject new ideas and concepts, which have a tendency to remain unchanged. The human mind likes to identify familiar patterns and is often wired to those familiar concepts. When people are acquainted with the website, the less effort they need to put to get the right response.

Using Mental Models

It is important to understand the concept of mental models to avoid problems with user experience and bounce rates. Experts like CrazyEgg.com and DMB.com.au say that mental models help focus your business on top value. This adds to your competitive advantage and delivers greater value to customers.

Evaluating Website

Users rely on previous experiences when evaluating a website. Designs that are too different or unfamiliar often lead to confusion. If you want people to interact, make sure that the surface elements fit online models.

By incorporating mental models in a website, you may speed up memorability and orientation. This is because users can easily recognise familiar elements, making them feel comfortable about exploring your website further.

About the author

Victoria Cory

Victoria Cory graduated with a degree in in Business Administration. She excels in marketing strategies and provides PR and advertising services for several companies. She is currently taking up her Master's degree.