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Right now, we are seeing all kinds of throwbacks which are reminding us of the good old days! We’re seeing sequels and remakes of long awaited movies such as Spiderman and Ghostbusters, we see Bruno Mars topping his chart with songs whose tunes look eerily like similar hits by Kool & The Gang; women wearing chokers and high-waisted pants.

This is also not a new phenomenon. Every generation daydreams about how things were before, and how it has changed now.

Nostalgia is a strong emotion, and it can make us feel happy and altogether in another, in design/ marketing, we can use nostalgia to captivate users.. and convert them.

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Research about Nostalgia

Nostalgia stirs up strong feelings, so there is something to be said about user psychology as we see retro throwbacks time and time again. After all, the goal in marketing is to create content that taps into our audience’s emotional core and establishes a much deeper connection with them far beyond a superficial “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” offer.

Nostalgia achieves that well.

So back to us jumping on the retro bandwagon, we ask it is useful for a retro website when the comebacks have such a short-term expiration? The answer is yes.

Studies show that nostalgia not only captivates the audience through marketing, simply for the reminiscent feelings accosted with them, but retro visual aesthetics can boost these effects even further, and that’s where design comes in. Take a closer look at what happens when we feel nostalgic.

Nostalgia in web design makes visitors feel more connected

Dr. Filippo Cordaro, a researcher from the University of Cologne, found similarities between an individual reminiscing about the past and the level of social connectivity they felt. He explains:

“On a basic level, recalling these positive memories simply puts us in a more positive modd. On a more complex level, recalling these experiences makes us feel a stronger sense of social connectedness with others.”

It is the latter part of the conclusion which is more important to be considered by marketers and web designers to understand; that feeling of connectedness is what we are and should be striving for, and we can do this by telling stories through visual design and using imagery that visitors can relate to. While a superficial offer/ discount might grab the user’s attention momentarily, by digging deeper into the emotional core of the user and establishing a more genuine, heartfelt connection is more effective overall.