You will like looking on my posting. Honestly. I know that by reading those first few words you are already in a positive mood…! You see, the first eight words of this blog post used characters that are mostly on the right hand side of the keyboard. And some fascinating new research has found that words typed on the right hand side of the QWERTY keyboard are rated more positively than words typed with characters predominantly from the left hand side of the keyboard. Even more interesting is the fact that the result was found in three different languages – English, Dutch and Spanish. So it does not appear to be linguistically dependent – though we might see a difference with other character forms, such as Arabic or Chinese, or perhaps when we read right to left. Even so, this new research throws up some interesting ideas we can consider.
Think about brand names and whether we think positively or negatively about them. Apple has three characters on the right of the keyboard, two on the left. Microsoft – four on each side. Google – three characters left, three characters right. McDonald’s – five left, three right. Now consider the degree to which these companies attract positive and negative publicity – Apple, mostly positive, Microsoft and Google, probably some on each side and McDonald’s, well it has had several large PR problems. Could it be that the position of the characters of your brand name on the keyboard influences whether or not positive emotions are linked to your business?
Similarly, what about buttons on your website? Facebook’s “Like” button has three from the right and one from the left. Click is a predominantly right-sided word, but “buy now” is more middling. Guess which one of those words the mighty Amazon uses?
Whilst this research goes against the theory that the form of words is unrelated to their emotional pull, it does lead to some interesting considerations. All those people who have done A-B split testing to discover that “Click” is more popular than “Buy Now” may have accidentally stumbled on the positive emotions of words which are mostly based on right-sided keyboard characters.
So it begs the question what words do you use as action words on your website? Are they using characters predominantly from the right side of the keyboard or not? You may well find more buyers, more followers, more readers if the words you use are full of right-hand-side characters. It’s worth a try, anyway…!
- Why ‘tax’ makes you unhappy: Scientists find that words on the left hand side of a QWERTY keyboard make people sad (dailymail.co.uk)
- Words Spelled on Right Side of Keyboards Lead to Positive Emotions (socialpsychology.org)
- A Scientific Approach to Writing Page Titles (problogger.net)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+