Psychology is a funny thing and so is web design!  Getting traffic to your website nowadays is only half the battle. Getting customers to interact on your website or to “raise their hand” is key to the success of generating leads for a business.

By using a simple psychology theory you can help improve the interaction on your website and improve user experience. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, coined the idea of: The Serial Position Effect

Hermann’s theory describes how the position of an item in a sequence affects recall accuracy. There are two main concepts involved in the serial position effect:

  1. The Primacy Effect: Items that are presented at the beginning of a list are recalled with greater accuracy than items in the middle of a list.
  2. The Recency Effect: Items that appear at the end of a list are also more likely to elicit better recall than items presented in the middle of a list.

So what does this all mean exactly?  In layman’s terms it basically means that items placed at the start or end of a list are remembered better than those listed in the middle!


How can the Serial Position Effect be used in web design?

The navigation menu

Ever wondered why so many websites have “services” or “products” at the start of their menus and “contact us” or “basket” at the end?

Studies have shown that by putting the most important links at the start and end of your navigation menu helps direct users to the important information companies want them to read. – “Jewellery” at the start of the menu to encourage the user to browse the catalogue and “Basket” at the end of the navigation for better recall to the checkout. – “Who we are” and “What we do” at the start of the menu so customers can learn about the company and contact details toward the end of the menu so they can easily contact the company.


Page Content Optimisation

In order to further encourage users to interact better with your website we can apply the same serial position logic to the content on a web page.

The first section of your page should be devoted to a business benefit, unique selling point or a special offer.  We then can end the section with a call to action (CTA) to encourage the user to interact with your website. – A clear and concise header explaining what Tara Grimes offers are the start of the opening banner, followed by a large call-to-action at the end of the banner. – The Cuan’s Accommodation page uses large text at the beginning of the section to explain what type of accommodation they offer and the finish the section with a large call to action to encourage further interaction.



By applying this simple theory of the Serial Position Effect to our customer’s websites we have seen a huge increase in user interaction on their websites.

The Serial Position Effect is only one design aspect that can help improve your customer’s interactions on your website. If you’d like to chat with WebsiteNI about how we can help improve your website’s customer interaction and ongoing digital marketing contact us via email or call us on 028 3754 9025 (Dungannon) or 028 9002 5050 (Belfast).