The Halo Effect, Importance in CX and UX


When people had a first negative impression of something, they carried that negative impression with them and applied it to other even unrelated aspects.

Priyanka is a 30-year-old working woman in India and she is browsing the internet to find the best hair oil for her, suddenly she got two ads A and ad B both are from the same brand, price and the same quantity of shampoo.

So on which ad she might click ad A or ad B?

The answer is “she will not click any of them because her husband recently brought a brand new shampoo for her”,

I know it’s a very bad joke. 😬

But based on the survey it proves that 87% Clicked on ad A.

Do you know what is the reason people prefer ad A?

The reason is that one of the psychological effects is called the “Halo effect”.

What is the Halo effect?

A halo effect is a form of cognitive bias that causes one part to make the whole seem more attractive or desirable. This concept can be applied to people, products, brands, and companies.

For example, a tall or good-looking person will be perceived as being intelligent and trustworthy, even though there is no logical reason to believe that height or looks correlate with smarts and honesty.

The Origin of the Halo Effect

The halo effect was first described in 1920 by psychologist Edward Thorndike in his paper “A Constant Error in Psychological Ratings.” The paper was based on a study in which he asked commanding officers to rate their soldiers on the basis of certain characteristics. He discovered that the ratings of soldiers’ physique were positively correlated with those for intelligence, leadership, and character, despite being unrelated characteristics.

Why Is It Called by “Halo?” 🤔

The word “Halo” comes from Greek word Greek halōs which means ‘disc of the sun or moon’ it represents a circle of light shown around or above the head of a saint or holy person to represent their holiness.

Some fact about the Halo Effect

The halo effect can be in a negative and positive way.
— If you like one part of something, you’re going to have a favorable predisposition towards all of it.
— When you hate one part of something, you are going to have a negative predisposition towards everything.
— A negative halo effect is sometimes called the “devil effect” or “Horn effect”.

Halo Effect is Good or Bad? 😇 😈

So as we know it has a good and bad side, because when we get a good or bad impression of anything we’re going to judge or see the rest of the part based on our first experience and we can’t change the cognitive bias because it occurs in our subconscious mind and we can take the advantage in our daily life.

👨‍🏫 Education:

  • The halo effect can influence how teachers view students, but it can also have an impact on how teachers interpret. In one study, researchers found that students often viewed him as more desirable, engaging, and likable when a teacher was seen as warm and friendly.

👩‍💻 In the Workplace:

• The halo effect is also frequently in effect at workplaces. You may presume that a coworker who is professionally dressed has a good work ethic. On the flip side, it could be judged that another co-worker in casual clothing does not have the same work ethic, though this could be completely untrue.

🛍️ In the E-commerce industry:

  • Advertisers and marketers often take advantage of the halo effect in their promotions. One common way to do this is to accept celebrity affirmations. When consumers see a celebrity in an advertisement the product appears more desirable due to the popularity of the celebrity. Another common use of the halo effect is when e-commerce platforms offer free delivery after customers spend a certain amount of money — the promise of free shipping places the goods in a more positive light.

CX and UX are Impacted by the Halo Effect

A research study in 2002 (Lindgaard and Dudek) asked the respondents how they would rank a community of websites ‘ visual appeal. Websites that had high ratings of visual-appeal were then tested for usability.
On average, the task-failure rate of participants at these sites exceeded 50 percent; this is an unacceptable failure rate based on our tracking of failure rates since 2000. Despite this atrocious rate of failure, however,
the satisfaction ratings for the participants remained high. Studies in this situation showed that the site’s look and feel had a halo effect on the entire site experience, even when these pages were poorly designed for

Closing thoughts

It is important to bear in mind the halo effect when designing a website or app that will provide a positive product experience. Also, being conscious of the halo effect does not make it easy to ignore its effects on our beliefs and decisions. The halo effect is just one of many prejudices enabling people to make snap judgments but also leading to errors in judgment.

The Take-Away

• A halo effect is a form of cognitive bias that causes one part to make the whole seem more attractive or desirable.
• The halo effect can be in a negative and positive way.
• In a number of real-world settings, the halo effect can have an impact like Education, E-commerce, UX design and research, marketing, workspace, etc.
• It’s Important to keep in mind the Halo effect while we are designing any app, website or anything related to the Customer or user experience.




UX design researcher @Siemens | ex: Amazon

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Importance Of Choosing The Right Tires For Your Car for a Diminished Value Appraisal

Up your fashion game by finding a muse

Changing Lives of People with Visual Impairment through ‘It Takes 2- Us and You’ Campaign

51261A: Project 4

Improving the website loading speed 6 simple steps

Ironhack’s Prework Challenge 1: Design Thinking guerilla usability testing

Reflection 6 (Week 7)- Mental Models

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Udit Maitra

Udit Maitra

UX design researcher @Siemens | ex: Amazon

More from Medium

Red Routes in Usability

How do you know if you have a problem?

Day 10 — User Research (Part 4 of 5)

Let’s Understand Design :)