Morphing the Web

The new Summer 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review includes an interesting article on websites that “morph” — by adjusting their content to the cognitive style of their visitors.

The new Summer 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review  includes an interesting article on websites that “morph” — by adjusting their content to the cognitive style of their visitors. For example, people who have a more visual way of thinking could be shown somewhat different content than those who think primarily in words.

Researchers Glen L. Urban, John R. Hauser, Guilherme Liberali, Michael Braun, and Fareena Sultan write:

“The best [salespeople] carefully diagnose how their client thinks and then modify their pitch to match the customer. This sales approach, often instinctive, enables the salesperson to vary the presentation of information depending on the cognitive style of the customer.

Now, through Web site morphing, the Internet is beginning to do the same.

Morphing increases sales. A recent experimental study at MIT demonstrated that Web-originated purchase intentions for a large global telecommunications company’s broadband product could increase 20% after morphing the site to match individual cognitive styles. For example giving analytic potential customers more data and technical detail, reducing the complexity for holistic information processors, giving impulsive users succinct recommendations, and providing engaging learning experiences to deliberative customers made it more likely that these Web site visitors would make a purchase after visiting the site.

You can read more about “Web morphing” — and how it can be implemented — in the authors’ article, “Morph the Web To Build Empathy, Trust and Sales.”