Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Voices That Matter

Neuro Web Design Review:

📄 Contents

  1. Use Pictures and Stories to Capture and Hold Attention, Engage Empathy
  2. Use Social Validation
  3. Use Reciprocity
  4. Use Community
  5. Limit the Number of Choices
  6. Summary
Susan Weinschenk, author of Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? analyzes the website of an international charitable organization. By making a few changes in the site design, she suggests, the group could increase the amount of good they're already doing for the world.
Like this article? We recommend

If you're like me, you probably have some favorite charities that you love. One of my favorites is FINCA International. FINCA is a microlending organization that sets up "village banks" all over the world, with local people, and then makes "micro" loans ($50 or $100) to help those people start or expand a business. This strategy allows people to pull themselves out of poverty.

FINCA has an extensive website that obviously required a lot of effort. But by making some changes to the site, using more of the principles in Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?, the website could be more persuasive—and thereby would get FINCA's message out to more people, more persuasively, and bring in more donations as a result.

Let's take a look at what FINCA is doing well (from a Neuro Web Design point of view) and what could make the website more powerful and persuasive.

Use Pictures and Stories to Capture and Hold Attention, Engage Empathy

Photos capture attention. Depending on the images in the photos, they can engage many parts of the brain. You can use photos at a website to get the attention of the midbrain (the emotional part of the brain) and the old brain (the part of the brain that's concerned with survival, danger, sex, and food).

The FINCA site uses many colorful photos, but could use them more effectively. First, let's look at the home page (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 delete

The first thing you notice is that the site includes pictures on the home page, and that's a good thing. But let's take a closer look at the pictures, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2 delete

Pictures are powerful drivers for our behavior and emotions, but they're more powerful if the people in the pictures connect with us; for example, if they appear to be making eye contact. In the picture at the top of Figure 2, the two people are not looking out of the screen at us—they're looking away. These pictures would engage the midbrain and old brain more directly if the people in the pictures looked at us.

The text on the top picture is also hard to read because it consists of mostly white letters on a mostly light-colored background. But if you look closely you can see that it says "FINCA's microlending programs bring results... increased incomes, more nutritious food, children in school instead of working." There are two problems with this text (well, three if you count using the wrong color for the text):

  • The picture shows a child who is not in school—it looks like the child might actually be working. The image doesn't match the text. Is this a family that has been helped, or is this a family that needs help? It's not clear.
  • The picture has text written on it, but the text is not about the people in that picture.

Stories are powerful, and pictures that tell a story are even more powerful. In the picture at the top of the page, it's hard to tell what the people are doing, and the words on the picture aren't about the picture, so there isn't really a story to be told.

The last problem with this particular picture is that you can't click on the picture to get a detailed story about the people in that picture. You can get details on clients at a different place on the website, but you should be able to get the full story of the people pictured by clicking on the picture, and it's not set up that way.

Throughout the site are more photos, most of which show happy people around the world. Happy photos are good, but the site misses an opportunity to engage the old brain. Having photos of people in trouble, in danger, in poverty would engage the old brain and compel action to donate.

Research shows that when people read a story about other people, certain parts of the brain are activated that can instigate a feeling of empathy. This empathy can then spur the viewer to act. The inside pages of the FINCA website have great client stories with lots of detail, but those stories are hard to find. If they were more prominent, the site would be more persuasive.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020