Does Your Website Have A Human Face?

by Hans

Does Your Website Have A Human Face?

As social creatures, images of people’s faces can draw our attention faster than that of any other objects. When presented with photographs of people, we are compelled to look for their faces, gauge attractiveness, and observe what they are doing. Faces are the gateway to human emotions.

From marketing perspective, a website needs to have pictures of people, especially human faces to help build a close relationship with their visitors. Why? Because no matter what kind of business you are building, people can feel the warmth when they see human touch in it. Do you want your website to be perceived as cold and bland, or warm and friendly?

That being said, there are slightly different psychological implications to consider before you incorporate any pictures of people for your website. What kind of personality defines your brand? What kind of emotions do you want your website visitors to feel? Let us take a look at some basic psychological principles to help you choose the right ‘face’ for your web design.

How Old You Look Matters

Despite the popular idiom ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, research results show people tend to associate certain facial appearances with certain psychological traits. Individuals with baby face are perceived as more innocent, trustworthy, but having less authority and expertise. According to an article by Dr. Simon Moss, this phenomenon is called babyface over-generalization effect.

Similarly, the opposite effect takes place when the face looks more mature. In that case, those individuals are perceived as having more experience and competence, yet less innocent. What kind of face is more suitable to represent your brand?

By incorporating a picture of baby-faced young lady in the background, AIBI purchase registration page intends to give out a fresh, youthful, and trustworthy image.

Babyface Over-Generalization Effect - Singapore Web Design Blog

Halo of Attractive People

Attractive individuals are perceived as having more favorable traits such as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence. Similarly their looks also help them to obtain favors when in need and are more persuasive in changing the opinions of an audience.

So what does this tell us? Obviously if you are endorsing a quality product or service on your website, you will make sure the face of people who are ‘featuring’ it has somewhat attractive qualities.

While it is true that different people gauge attractiveness differently, there are still a few common traits that the general public agree in, such as symmetrical face, proportional facial features, and straight profile.

An example of this principle in action can be seen on Oxti contact us page, which features a glimpse of an attractive lady looking at the visitors.

The Importance of A Smile

Humans have the capacity to feel and be influenced by the emotions of others. This phenomenon is called emotional contagion. When you see people smiling at you, won’t you be more inclined to smile back?

Various behavioral economics researches state that a simple warm smile can encourage cooperation. According to Journal of Applied Social Psychology, restaurant waiters who exhibit more positive communication behaviors (e.g. smiling, a light touch on the shoulder, or squatting at eye level with a customer) tend to receive higher tips than those who do not.

In website context when you are promoting a product or service, the general rule is to choose a smiling face instead of a frowning one. As the popular expression puts it: “A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks”.

AIBI website now looks more cheerful with a warm smile or two :)

The Importance of a Smile - Singapore Web Design Blog


Pictures of people, especially with attractive smiling faces are powerful marketing tools highly essential for brands wanting to convey a positive feeling to their customers. Now you should know why so many brands out there put up a smiling face on their websites. Being the oldest trick in the book, it still works like a charm. The challenge is to pick the right picture that conveys the right message.

And where to get those pictures from? If you have the budget, ideally you can consider having a professional photographer shoot them for you. This way, all the photos will have a more consistent tone and the website will seem more authentic to your visitors. However if you are on a tight budget, buying them from stock photo websites (e.g. iStockphoto or GettyImages) can also be a viable option.

Does your website have a human face?

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