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5 Psychology Principles To Improve Your UX/UI Design

How do you create interfaces that drive conversions and/or increase customer retention? It’s not enough just to make them visually appealing. When creating interfaces, UX/UI designers have to also understand the human brain and how they make decisions, so people would be inspired to take the desired action. This time, we’re here to help you with that. Here are 5 most common psychology principles for all those designers out there to utilize to their benefit.


Hick’s Law

As human beings and users, we hate having too many options. Even in Bandersnatch, the two choices were too much for us to handle, so how we’re supposed to deal with 5 or more of them? This is what Hick’s Law aka “Analysis paralysis” is all about. It states that with more options presented, it takes much longer for users to make a decision. Not only it causes the unnecessary stress, but also increases the chance of users not making a decision at all. Imagine that you give loads of options. During the time they go through all of them and decide which one to choose, a lot can happen. Someone might interrupt their time online by calling or chatting, or they would simply overthink too much. So as a UX/UI designer, you need to do everything to avoid that. You want users to make a decision as fast possible, so there would be as little room for distractions as possible.


Fitts’ Law

This law emphasizes the importance of size and distance and is mostly applied when designing buttons. According to it, you should place target buttons close to expected mouse locations and even make them larger so that the interaction time would decrease. You don’t want users to be overlooking that “Buy” button or having it difficult to click. In other words, make sure that the elements you want users to select are easily selectable and close to them. The idea of Fitts’ Law can also be used when designing less important elements. They should be there, but shouldn’t distract the user or steal focus from the key ones.


Memory Limitations

How we store information is a lot affected by our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and the environment we’re surrounded by. Sometimes people even create false memories that they start believing. This is important to understand and remember when designing various interfaces. You want to create things that users can easily recognize and they don’t have to recall. Your goal is to build things that are easy to remember and don’t require much effort trying to figure out.

How do you that? Find places where you can assist users and help them out. Use common UX design patterns and leave simple guidances around to make sure users always find their way around. For example, we all know what to look for when we need to find a search bar. A magnifying glass symbol. Or where to switch languages – most of the language icons are located in the upper right corner, above or next to the menu. Easy and not confusing at all. Embrace those common patterns and use them to your advantage.


Mental Models

Similar to memory limitations, people also build mental models that they form based on previous experiences. If we would line up 10 login pages from different websites, you probably couldn’t guess from which website it is. That’s because they are supposed to be easy and not complicated. Think about all the services you decided not to use, just because you couldn’t figure out their login page. Exactly, that’s a lot. You don’t want to lose your users at this important stage. Users expect similar navigation, interactions and even terminology being used. Many designers want to add their creative touch to what they create. And sometimes that’s fine. But you don’t need to always reinvent the wheel and sometimes using an old trusted design or interface pattern can work to your benefit. With so much competition around, every user can quickly switch to a different service or product, simply based on the fact that the interface wasn’t convenient enough.


The Von Restorff Effect

This principle is also called the “Isolation Effect” and as the name suggests, is states that the human brain better remembers distinctive items. It can be a different visual, context or even experience. For instance, call-to-action (CTA) buttons are called like that for a reason. They indicate that we expect the user to take some kind of action. But first, we need to get their attention to take that action, right? That’s why CTAs always stand out from all the other design elements. You need to figure out what kind of elements are important for you and you want to emphasize. And then you can do that by altering light, changing colours, size, playing with images, fonts animations, words or even sounds. However, it’s important to use this effect in moderation. With emphasizing every single element, your website is at risk of becoming really loud and repellant. And, ironically, you can lose users’ focus.