Back to all posts

What UX Designers Can Learn from Psychology

Learning more about psychology can help designers learn about how people make decisions, form habits and understand content. Armed with that knowledge, UX designers can better create products that are usable and understandable.

Here are a few concepts to get started:

Hick’s Law

Credit: interaction-design.org

Definition: Increasing the number of choices available increases decision time.

Tip: To reduce mental fatigue, keep it simple by reducing the amount of choices and having a default option.

Fitt’s Law

Credit: interaction-design.org

Definition: Simply put, closer and bigger things are easier to touch accurately.

Tip: Placing key site components far apart will increase the amount of time required in completing sequential tasks in your interface.

Miller’s Law

Definition: The average number of objects that can be held in working memory is seven.

Tip: Chunk relevant information when necessary, refer to Hick’s Law
and reduce unnecessary complexity.

Gestalt Principles

  • Similarity
    Shared visual characteristics automatically create relationships
  • Proximity
    When objects are closer to each other than to any other object, they are seen as a group
  • Continuation
    Once the eye begins to follow something, it will continue in that direction until it encounters another object
Example of Closure (Credit: D+M Design)
  • Closure
    When information is present, the mind supplies missing pieces of an object that is recognizable
  • Figure/Ground
    The tendency to separate whole figures from their backgrounds based on one or more of a number of possible variables, such as contrast, color, size, etc.

Tip: Consider grouping related tasks and content to make a more intuitive interface.

Persuasion Principles (Robert Cialdini)

  • Reciprocity
    If something is done for us, we tend to return the favor
  • Consistency
    We have a need for personal alignment with preexisting principles and values
Example of social proof
  • Social Proof
    When unsure what to do, we look to the behavior of others to guide our actions
  • Liking
    We are more likely to comply with requests made by people that we like
  • Authority
    We are inclined to go along with someone’s suggestion if we think that person is a credible expert
  • Scarcity
    We tend to want what is less available

Tip: For opportunities to create more engaging content, consider offering limited time access to an application or showing social proof from peers or experts to convince users of a product’s value

The Magic of Free

Definition: We tend to go for free things, even if they come at a price

In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely described a study in which they gave people a choice between two offers. One was a $10 Amazon gift certificate for free, the other was a $20 gift card available for $7. However, more people chose the $10 gift card even though the other option provided more value.

Tip: Consider using the word “free” to help increase conversion and click through rates.

The Invisible Gorilla

Selective Disregard

Definition: Ignoring what appears unrelated to the task at hand

Tip: Make changes to a page obvious and follow conventions to improve usability by meeting user expectations.

Affordance Theory (J. J. Gibson)

Definition: The world is perceived not only in terms of object shapes and spatial relationships but also in terms of object possibilities for action

Examples include: buttons for pushing, knobs for turning, handles for pulling, levers for sliding, etc.

Tip: Avoid leaving your users confused about what your product can do by communicating through conventions (ex. using common web patterns for a tech savvy) or visual cues.

Conclusion

Understanding perception limitations and common user behavior can help you predict how a user will interact with your product. Keep learning more about the field of psychology while making design decisions.


This article was originally posted at:
https://blog.prototypr.io/what-ux-designers-can-learn-from-psychology-9fd55d55a4fd

Can we take you from stuck to unstuck?

We'd love to hear from you

Call to action (CTA)

A call to action is a marketing term that refers to a prompt that invokes a response leading to a sale. When referring to a call to action (CTA) in the digital design world we usually mean the interactive element that leads to the next step in the experience - something that needs to be clicked or tapped.

User testing

User testing refers to a technique used in the design process to evaluate a product, feature or prototype with real users. There are several reasons why you might want to undergo usability testing, the most common is that it allows the design team to identify friction in a user experience they are designing, so that it can be addressed before being built or deployed.

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-ee-wig) is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get". It helps identify an an interface that allows user input resulting in an output that is rendered in a similar way. For example; a word processor application interface might resemble a piece of paper,so when printed the user can see how the output will appear.

Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is an tool that allows a website editor/administrator to manage the content that is displayed. Websites are made of HTML and CSS to create pages. Pages can be hard-coded but would require technical development skills to make changes. A CMS usually allows a person without coding knowledge to amend existing and add new content to a website using a WYSIWYG interface.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design refers to a web page that dynamically adapts its layout to fit the size and orientation of the device on which it is viewed. A responsive design allows for a more optimised user experience across desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets of varying sizes.

User Stories

User stories allow the functionality of a product or service to be expressed as written descriptions of an experience as seen from the users perspective. The writing of user stories creates a list of design and development tasks to complete in order to create any required functionality.

User Interface

A user interface (UI) is a conduit between human and computer interaction - the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate effective completion of tasks.

Personas

A persona in UX Design is the characterisation of a user who represents a segment of your target audience. On a project you might create any number of personas to be representative of a range of user needs and desires. The solutions you design must answer these needs in order to deliver value to your target audience.

Card sorting

A great, reliable, inexpensive method for discovering patterns in how users would expect to find content or functionality. Card sorting is used to test the taxonomy of data with a group of subjects, usually to help inform the creation of the information architecture, user flow, or menu structure on a project.

Brainstorming

A technique used to generate ideas around a specific topic. Often done in groups, but can be done individuals. The process usually involves writing down all ideas around a topic onto paper, a whiteboard or stickies often implying some kind of association.

Minimum Viable Product

An MVP is a product that has the minimum set of features to prove the most essential hypothesis for a product. Businesses building a new product can create a Minimum Viable Product to prove that an idea is viable and warrants further investment. A further benefit being that the next stage of development can be informed by feedback obtained from testing that MVP.

Sitemap

A sitemap is a diagrammatic representation of a hierarchical system. It usually depicts the parent-sibling relationship between pages in a website, showing how sub pages might be arranged underneath their parent groupings. This arrangement forms a map of the site.

User journey

A user journey represents a sequence of events or experiences a user might encounter while using a product or service. A user journey can be mapped or designed to show the steps and choices presented as interactions, and the resulting actions.

Prototype

A prototype is draft representation built to test ideas for layout, behaviour and flow in a system. Prototypes are an indispensable tool for resolving a large number of potential issues in a concept or business before too many resources are deployed to put a design into production.

Wireframes

A Wireframe is a visual schematic that conveys a basic level of communication, structure and behaviour during the design of a system. Wireframes are low-fidelity designs that bypass including a detailed user interface or visual design, conveying just enough to get across the core idea.

Usability

To say something is usable is a qualitative statement about how easy that thing is to use. Usability is an assessment of how learnable a system is and how easy a user finds it to use. The usability of a system or product is a key factor in determining whether the user experience is a good one.

Information Architecture

Information architecture is the design and organisation of content, pages and data into a structure that aids users understanding of a system. A more organised system enables users to more easily find the information they require and complete the intended tasks.

UI Design

User Interface Design is the discipline of designing software interfaces for devices, ideally with a focus on maximising efficiency, responsiveness and aesthetics to foster a good user experience.

UX Design

The practice of User Experience (UX) Design is the coming together of many specific design related disciplines to improve the usability, responsiveness, uptake and aesthetics of a product or service.

User Experience

A general term that covers all aspects of a user's participation while engaging with something that has been designed. Usually when talking about User Experience in the digital design field it refers to the interactions, reactions, emotions and perceptions while using an app, service, website or product.

Got a problem to solve with your service? 

We'd love to hear about it. We can add value to any business that has a digital product/offering.

Book a FREE 30 min consultation

You can also call +44(0)20 3653 1310 or email us

Book a FREE 30min consultation