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Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008 at 7:54 am

How to Hook Your Humanistic Visitors

By Brendan Regan
December 9th, 2008

Grok readers are doubtless familiar with the four temperaments we at FutureNow use to form personas.  If you’re new to personas, we suggest you take a detour and read this overview and then part 2 of how to get started with personas.

Assuming you’re familiar with the four temperaments, you know that one of the challenges of Persuasion Architecture is to satisfy the needs of the different buying modes on your website.  We generally recommend certain design principles for certain personas, but it’s often challenging to know how to satisfy a temperament if you personally aren’t in that Myers-Briggs profile.

Take me for example.  I’m an INTJ, which puts me in the Competitive profile, and I have Methodical tendencies (especially when shopping for something really expensive online).  I’m often at a loss to come up with ways to speak to Spontaneous and Humanistic profiles.  Maybe you’re in the same boat.

Screenshot #1

To that end, I found a great design approach for the Humanistic that I’d like to share.  I don’t know if the retailers over at Zappos subscribe to Persuasion Architecture or not, but they’ve implemented a subtle design element that I’d wager is extremely persuasive to Humanistic shoppers.  Notice on screenshot #1 (on the left), above the “search filtering” tool the little bit of copy about “Zappos Core Value #1.”  Intelligently placed near a picture of a person, the understated line of copy simply states that Zappos strives to “Deliver WOW Through Service.”  These core values rotate, so over time you’d be exposed to all 10 Core Values.

I like this approach for two reasons:

  1. It doesn’t get in the way of the other 3 Temperaments.  This single line of copy doesn’t shout and doesn’t overpower other important page elements like products and the ability to narrow search results.  It simply sits there, quietly and calmly, waiting for the Humanistic to gravitate towards it.  The picture of a person serves to perhaps act as a ‘tractor beam’ for Humanistics who want to know a bit more about who’s behind the website.  NOTE:  Most Grok readers are well aware of Zappos because they get so much “buzz” about their marketing, their site design, their Twitter presence, etc., but remember that there are people out there who are still first-time visitors to their site.
  2. Screenshot #2You can drill deeper to learn more. See screenshot #2 (on the left) for what happens when the Humanistic shopper clicks on the “Core Value” design element.  Visitors are taken to the Core Values page, where interested Humanistics can feast on’s forward-thinking values (the ones you could argue have made them a leader in their space).  They even add a testimonial as icing on the Humanistic cake!  They’ve devoted some real estate outside the active window to talk about shipping promotions and direct visitors back into the browsing/buying process. Well played.

Should your copy this approach on your site?  Not really.  But take it as inspiration to start thinking about the things that make your company and your website unique, and about how to present that information to Humanistic visitors without decreasing your persuasive momentum.

And when in doubt, we always recommend you test and optimize to get to the optimum approach for your unique business.

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Comments (8)

  1. I love the title of this post. One of my favorite things is that most other marketing blogs don’t talk about selling on-page in the same way. They mostly talk about it as if the customers will just click on shiny buttons. Well done grock.

  2. The site seems to have changed a bit – I can only find a link to their new Zeta site now. I do love the new “Powered by Christmas” logo though.

    Your point remains valid though – and I think that it’s a huge challenge to be able to attract certain segments/types (whatever typology you use) without what you do getting in the way of other types. Zappos seem to have managed to hit the best of both worlds.


  3. Zappos is an interesting example of persuasion trumping usability. Their site is not the most usable site there is, but it is very persuasive. I use them as an example of various persuasion techniques (social validation, reciprocity) in the book Neuro Web Design: What makes them click (

  4. I like your points on the humanist. does a fabulous job with this, even on the home page. They keep the important info at the top and have videos at the bottom for those scrollers out there.

    The page always strikes me as crowded though. But it is a good example to show the Cs how site info should be structured.

    Again, thanks for your expertise. I love all Groks articles and pass them on regularly.

  5. I’ve always enjoyed shopping online at zappos. They really have done a fine job.

  6. I watch they design site for the Humanistic.
    But I prefer not.

  7. I think this will be very helpful thank you.

  8. I never shopping online.

    But I interested in Zappos.

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