How to Provoke Users’ Emotions and Actions with Your Website?

Emotion drives the users. Emotions make people share the content, make decisions quicker and pay money more confidently. It is not a rocket science to make a website emotional, and so gain huge benefits of it – sales, conversions, regular customers, donations, and finally traffic.

We are going to highlight the meaning of emotional design, how to realize it in practice and which emotions can be actually evoked through a website.

Types of Emotions and How to Evoke Each

Emotions are negative and positive. There are root emotions and tons of derived ones. The emotions you can provoke with your website are:

  • trust
  • happiness
  • empathy
  • hope
  • surprise
  • anger
  • fear
  • guilt
  • jealousy

People feel trust, when they know you are professional, responsible and reliable. There are some approaches to demonstrate this with a website: portfolio; persuasive resume text, experience; design colored in a right way and with needed tones; testimonials with real people pictures; social proof; your photo or/and personal contact details; contacts page with all phones, addresses, emails. Trust is the most powerful emotion that drives users. They will never hire you or buy anything from you if they don’t trust you.

Happiness is an easy-to-evoke emotion. Put pictures with smiling people to your website, and users will smile back in front of their monitors. Smile is contagious and many readers prove this. When a person smiles, someone who sees his begin smiling too, because the mirror neurons stimulates a sensation associated with smiling in our mind. This is something beyond human control, as well as have you ever thought why you yawn after someone else does, even if you are full of energy? You can make people smile and feel happy on different website kinds. For example, travel websites, charity projects, automotive industry websites or any other site where you can add a picture of your satisfied customers.

Website with Homepage Positive Image
Website with Homepage Positive Image. Source.

Empathy is the most common emotion on charity websites. Here many touching pictures and stories can’t leave visitors indifferent to other people’s grief. Moreover, this emotion is directly connected with actions, so when making your site sensitive, you need to think twice about the call to action design and position.

Hope is probably the strongest human emotion ever. Hope gives power to live on, to struggle with diseases and overcome problems. So you can impregnate charity and medical websites with this feeling.

Surprise is a sudden emotion, and it can be both good and bad. You can give users a good surprise feeling with a tremendous discount on the products, alluring drawing, new products or services they dreamt about, etc. There are many ways to take users unawares and then persuade them to take quick actions.

Anger is definitely what your visitors should not feel. This emotion can be evoked by many factors:

  • Website navigation. If a user doesn’t understand the principle of your site navigation, he will be irritated and so feel anger.
  • Irksome popups. Many website owners do their best to increase sales and conversions – it is fine but don’t try too hard! When a user can’t read even a small piece of text because popups stand on the way, it will lead not to sales increase, but decrease.
  • Something is not working. Sure thing something may stop working properly on a site, but you should keep your eye on everything and don’t let any bugs to spoil user experience. Check your contact/sign in/registration forms, Google map, social sharing buttons as often as you can. These features are important to users, and they have to be intuitive and just perfect.

You do not have to scare users, even if you just want to joke. Fear and surprise come close for many people, so keep the verge safely. Users may feel fear if your website suddenly changes passwords for their accounts; if you adopt terrified effects on your design.

You may think users can’t feel guilty about anything on your website. Wrong you are. What do you say users if the site is unavailable? I saw many pages with words, like ‘sorry’, ‘oops’, ‘we will fix it soon’, ‘try again’, but there are also messages like ‘you have mistyped’, ‘you have done something wrong’, etc. In this case, website owners blame users, even if they do it accidentally. This is the first case. Anyway, you can try to use guilt feeling to boost your conversions or profits. Going back again to charity websites (it seems they are the most emotion-provoking), animal charity can try to make people guilty about buying fur coats and so persuade them to atone guilts by donating and helping animals. This is just one example, turn on your imagine and you will have tons of ideas!

Jealousy is an insidious emotion, because people can’t control it. Users can become jealous on a lottery website, for example. You show them how the previous winner leaves in his dream house in a dream place with a supercar, and they want it too. They envy and want to try his life. Now think what, they will buy a lottery ticket, too. This is how you can convert users into customers by means of any emotion, even negative.

Actions You Expect From Users and How to Get Them

Buy, donate, register, subscribe, try, read – these are common calls to action used on websites. It doesn’t make a big deal which type of CTA you have, because the design is equal for them all if you want users to act but not hesitate. Firstly, CTA button has to be big. Size matters a lot, because mini buttons will be invisible among all other website content. Talking about the content, you need to ensure much white space around the CTA button, so it is definitely visible. The color of CTA has to be contrasting to the primary colors used on the design.

Website with a Large Pink CTA Button
Website with a Large Pink CTA Button. Source.

Still, text is even more important than design: one good thing is to indicate the time on this button. For example, the discount is available for 10 days: type this on your CTA. Humor is another trick for effective CTA: if you manage to make users laugh, they will more likely push the button. (One simple thing is to make your CTA of a funny shape. This is both catchy and adds humor.)

Social proof won’t be bad to make CTA more powerful. People care about opinion of others. Real-time counter is something similar to social proof, because it also persuades people to join the majority of users.

And the last thing: don’t neglect the CTA position: it is very important to include CTA on each page and on the most prominent page sections, usually it is above the fold, or at the bottom where users will look for contacts.

The Working Methods to Encourage Users Feel and Act

We tried to explain what emotions people feel on certain websites, and we gave you some recommendations on how to create these emotions and also how to make website more interactive with right a CTA design. Here are a few more ways to provoke users’ emotions and actions:


We would not ramble on color meanings and which color you should pick for your design, because there is much sad about this on the web and many researches have been done. What you should know is that color palette is a vital component of a website design in general and of its emotional aspect. Colors have to be picked according to the website aim, its topic, content, etc. Yes, each color has its own meaning, but when a few of them are combined in a unique scheme they become something more. Colors evoke good and bad emotions, colors can bring users to actions or not, this all depends on how you use them in accordance with other design elements. Remember, color supports the tone of your design.


Typography is influential enough to add personality to a website, make it attractive and memorable. Website looks more prominent, when there is a good fonts’ hierarchy, and of course white space is necessary. A website has personality when the fonts are chosen professionally: there is one hero font and others to tone it. If someone strives to create memories within a website, he can rely on associations. The fonts that are associated with something are potent, these should be sophisticated fonts to evoke engagement and interaction.


We have mentioned how to use fonts before, but the prior task is to write the text you are going to type. Text can make wonders and evoke a few emotions at once. The user can feel smarter, cooler, and richer just by reading a well-written message.

You can use any expressions, your life experience, memories, virtual gestures, and of course tone to make people feel. And don’t forget the latest trend in content marketing – storytelling. It will help you a lot to create an emotional website with a good copy.


Photographs describe real life, real people and nature, true emotions. Images are your reliable friends in building a website with personality. Pick and place images strategically: close-up images, if appropriate for your design, can evoke emotions better that father ones, though it depends on the color of the picture too. Black and white photography is definitely better to use for getting stronger emotions from users. Then, the image should be placed on a visible position, where no one can ignore it.

Emotional Website Design with A Full-Screen Image
Emotional Website Design with A Full-Screen Image. Source.


Music fires up emotions in our brains. Songs can transform us back to past, or make us dream about future. Music forces us to run away from everything we can rationalize, so we turn off our brain and turn on our soul – this is how it works. Music background is not so much frequent feature on modern sites, because audio files make website heavier and slow it down. Though, if you pick a light-weight track to follow users as they browse your site, and make the whole website quick, it may work.


We would highly appreciate your comments, as usual, below the article. You may suggest us more ways to create emotions on a website and make CTA work better, as well as you may share good examples of how to evoke feelings and actions through a website.

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  1. This is actually something I wish was a class in college, because I think its actually a huge topic and very important in all aspects of design: web and print. This was truly a great read and very inspiring to concentrate a little more on when I mock up designs for people. I think having emotions connecting your site is very important.

    • Teelah, thank you for the feedback. You are absolutely right, this is a very huge topic, which we need to be taught. It is very important to fill a website with emotions and this can help webmasters a lot. I very glad to write a useful article, hope it will help and inspire many more designers. And good luck with your projects!

  2. I’ve seen some list, but this is the best of all. They’re so beautiful, and I’m downloading some of them.

    • Thanks, I appreciate your feedback! It’s my pleasure to share everything I know with others)

  3. You are a great designer……….Thanks Amazing designs, best of luck in your design career!

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