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6 clever persuasion techniques in web design

04. Framing

Framing is the language in which an option is presented. Framing can also complement anchoring and ordering — if you have a surcharge for using credit cards, you can "frame" the cash price as a discount. The credit card price becomes the anchor, and the cash price seems more attractive.

05. Reference

Image courtesy of Mint

Image courtesy of Mint

While this requires some more complex data capability, this tactic provides social reference as a means of incentivizing users to interact deeper. Not only do users see where they stand compared to other users, but they can envision themselves achieving meeting their goals.

06. Loss aversion

Studies show that people fear loss more than they value gains. "You can save $30 by signing up," is weaker than, "You're losing $30 if you don't sign up."

One of the best uses of the loss aversion for web design is in the Scarcity Principle — limiting the availability of time, products, inclusions (membership), or information to make each seem more valuable. The UI pattern of a clock counting down the end of a sale, for example, is a glaring reminder to the user of the loss they could experience if they wait, inciting them to avert that loss by buying quickly.

In the example below, Groupon makes use of both limiting time and product availability in a sale of headphones.

Image courtesy of Groupon

Image courtesy of Groupon

If you'd like to learn more about crafting effective copy for interaction design, check out the first volume of our books on the topic.


While big decisions like buying a expensive product might overshadow the smaller decisions of where to click next, it's the smaller decisions that affect the user's enjoyment. Big or small, potential decisions your users make should be identified readily, and designed to suit your needs based on the tips we listed above.

You don't need to listen to us, though — that's your decision.

Download the free ebook today

Download the free ebook today

To learn more about mastering the intangible aspects of web design, feel free to check out our free ebook on the topic.

We've included 80+ pages of practical advice on designing for time and behavior, relying upon analysis of real-world examples from MailChimp, Apple, AirBnB, Netflix, Google, and other companies.

Words: Jerry Cao

Jerry Cao is a content strategist at UXPin – the wireframing and prototyping app – where he develops in-app and online content for the wireframing and prototyping platform. To learn more about content-first design, download the free e-book Web UI Design for the Human Eye: Content Patterns & Typography.

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