Every element of a webpage either inspires us by giving us more units of Psych or overwhelms us by depleting our existing store of Psych.
A user at 100 Psych is maximally committed to their current experience, does not need further motivation, and will overcome most challenges. For example, a person who needs to file their taxes tonight will do whatever it takes to download their W2 from their company’s payroll site. They’ll complete a forgotten password step, suffer through a poor interface they’ve never used before, and read through confusing numbers in order to get their taxes done in time.
A user at 0 Psych is exhausted and disinterested, to the point of abandoning their current experience. For example, a person accidentally clicking on an ad who realizes they’ve ended up on a scam site will have no motivation to continue and will bounce.
1. Assess initial Psych
2. Psych on the landing page
3. Enter personal info
4. Interact with product
5. Enter payment information
But optimizing Psych isn’t just a matter of removing clicks and reducing text. In some cases, more detailed forms or copy can help by decreasing the cognitive load on making the decision — even though it’s technically more effort. For example, including more information about security and money-back guarantees can overcome trust barriers and alleviate fears for big purchases.
Airbnb does a good job of loading up the page with +Psych elements because they know they’re asking a lot of the user:
- “Earn money? Yes please.” → +10 Psych
- “I can rent out an entire place, or a room, or just a couch? Then there probably is something for me.” → +5 Psych
- “$741 weekly average… higher than I thought.” → +10 Psych
- “Host insurance, and a $1M guarantee that protects my stuff… ok phew.” → +4 Psych