10 UX Design Psychology Principles With Practical Examples To Understand

10 UX Design Psychology Principles With Practical Examples To Understand

User experience (UX) is about understanding the users’ needs, values, abilities, limitations, etc., and using them to meet business goals and objectives. All the big online and offline brands work on UX to make a permanent space in the human mind by understanding the user’s psychology.

The bond between human psychology and UX design is deep. When creating for users, it’s crucial to empathize with them and grasp their attention. Satisfactory user experiences are only feasible once you understand the human mind. Ask yourself about the brands that you use. You may recall their logo, font, size, color, etc.

By employing UX design psychology principles, designers may make designs that cater to user requirements. The wonderful world of user experience design can make or break your business. In this blog, we’ll discuss the ten essential psychology for UX design that every designer should know. We’ll also discuss a few practical examples to illustrate each point clearly.

Also Read: Ultimate ChatGPT UX Cheat Sheet for UI/UX Designers

Let’s begin with the importance of UX for businesses.

How Does Superior UX Help Businesses?

Users become frustrated if a website or application cannot deliver the expected experience. There comes the role of UI and UX. While UI design focuses on the appearance and feel of the product’s interfaces, UX design considers the experience as a whole.

Key To Customer Retention

Like attracting new customers, keeping existing ones takes careful preparation and strategy. The number of people who visit and use your app/website will increase if you deliver a good experience through a simple and visually attractive interface. For that, use UX design psychology principles that we’ll discuss later in this blog.

More User Interaction

Without people’s engagement at your website or app, none of your other efforts will amount to success. You have less than a minute to convince a visitor and hook them for conversion. By this, you should understand the critical roles UX/UI plays.

Increased Brand Recognition

It is true that if your app or website is uninteresting in today’s business, you will only be relevant for a short time. UX experts research the industry to formulate a creative, best-in-class, engaging design that makes your business easy to recall, establishing you as a brand.

Better Accessibility

The discoverability, reliability, and ease of use of your app and website interface improves with UX. The team behind UX design ensures that the visuals and functionality are intuitive. They use multiple elements like colors, fonts, images, videos, animations, navigation, buttons, etc, to ensure better usability and accessibility.

Also Read: How Do You Use Midjourney To Design & Create AI Images?

Apply These 10 UX Design Psychology Principles For Higher User Experience

Creating an engaging website or application involves more than putting text on a page. It’s about an intuitive, welcoming, and impactful experience for users. These ten UX design psychology principles are vital for organizations to know how users interact and feel about their digital space.

Jakob’s Law: Design With Familiarity In Mind

Have you ever wondered why most social media platforms have a navigation bar at the bottom or the top? That’s Jakob’s Law in action. Coined by Jakob Nielsen, this Law advocates that since users already know how websites and apps should look, designers should stick closer to these mental models.

They reduce their effort to understand a new interface by sticking to that.

Example – A shopping cart icon instantly tells you where your selected items are on an e-commerce site.

You don’t require an extra explanation. However, finding the balance between innovation and familiarity is critical. Stray too far from what users expect, and you might confuse them; stick too closely, and your product could become lost in a sea of sameness.

Fitts’s Law: Make Important Action Easy

Fitts’s Law is about making user actions as effortless as possible. Assume you’re playing an online game, and the most crucial button is the easiest to hit. That’s Fitts’s Law, which ensures that the most important actions, like CTAs (Calls to Action), are visible and easily clickable.

Example – Placing a ‘Sign Up’ button in clear view, with plenty of space around it, means users are more likely to take action.

You can also understand this UX design psychology principle on e-commerce websites. Those websites might freeze the navigation bar, keeping the ‘Cart’ button within reach as you scroll. It’s about reducing the “legwork” for users while interacting with your app or website.

Law of Proximity: Grouping Elements Together

Humans naturally tend to group things – objects or elements on a screen. The Law of Proximity states customers perceive two aspects as related when they are close. Similarly, the Law of Common Region suggests that elements within a bounded area are considered part of a group.

When applied to design, you can guide the user’s attention and understanding through strategic placement.

Example – Placing related items together, like filter options near search results, helps users quickly understand what they see without feeling overwhelmed.

Hick’s Law: Simple Choices, Better Customer Experience

Do you take so much time deciding items due to too many options on a menu? That is not the ideal user experience you expect at a restaurant.

Hick’s law says that more choices lead to more decision taking time. This UX design psychology principle focuses on simplifying choices that can lead to better user experiences.

Example – Consider a streaming service like Netflix with thousands of movies. They categorize content and provide recommendations to help users narrow their options, making choosing easier. The key is to balance variety with simplicity, guiding users to their goals with fewer, more explicit choices.

Postel’s Law: Be Flexible With User Input

Named after Jon Postel, this Law encourages designers to expect (and handle) a wide range of user inputs. Have you ever filled out a form that insisted on a specific format for your phone number and rejected anything else?

Frustrating, right? Postel’s UX design psychology principle suggests making forms (and other inputs) as flexible as possible.

Example – Whether users type their phone number with dashes, spaces, or not at all, your system should recognize it. It’s about accommodating rather than forcing your preferred structure, making the experience smoother for everyone.

The Von Restorff Effect: Highlight Important Points For Remember & Recall

Named after Hedwig von Restorff, this law states that people remember distinctive items more than their standard counterparts.

Example – Let’s say a designer is creating a safety app. Using a distinct color or animation for the emergency button makes it stand out from less critical options. Users remember it quickly and find it when they need it. It’s about using visual differences to make essential features or information memorable.

Peak-End Rule: Create Memorable Highlights

The Peak-End Rule UX design psychology principle tells us that people judge experiences based on their feelings. However, that feeling is from the peak and its end rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.

Example – For digital experiences, consider the checkout process in an online store. Ensuring this part is smooth and pleasant can leave users with a positive overall impression, even if there were minor hiccups earlier in the journey. It’s the high points and the final notes that stick with us.

The Aesthetic Usability Effect: Good Looks Forgive Minor Issues

We’re all a little biased toward beauty. This principle states that we’re more forgiving of usability issues if we find an interface visually appealing. While a good- design can enchant users, you should not compromise on usability.

Example – Early testing with basic wireframes helps identify and solve usability issues before beautiful visuals mask them. Observing users interacting with your design can reveal issues they might need help to articulate, like a button that’s hard to find despite your stunning graphics.

Also Read: 20 Common App UX Design Mistakes

The Shape Law: Match Shape & Size With Business Objective

Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “he can find things better and faster with color and shapes than any other features. This quote denotes the importance of shape and size in the UX design psychology principle. Our subconscious mind is incredibly adept at linking shapes with certain qualities, and these associations happen without us even realizing it.

Example – All popular brands we use follow a specific shape and size in their logo.

Round Shapes: Circles, Ovals, And Ellipses

These shapes convey positive emotions and are associated with feminine traits. They speak of community, infinity, unity, and relationships. A website incorporating round logos or elements evokes warmth, embrace, and inclusivity.

Squares And Triangles: The Edges Of Perception

Squared edges reflect stability, efficiency, and professionalism. They echo a masculine quality, lending an aura of strength and reliability. On the other hand, triangles related to power, science, religion, and Law project a sense of dynamic presence and direct focus.

The Strength Of Vertical Lines

Consider logos like Cisco and SoundCloud, which utilize vertical lines. They’re not just random design choices; they symbolize strength, masculinity, and sometimes aggression. These elements command attention and convey a sense of upward momentum and growth.

Visceral Reactions: First Impression Is The Best Impression

Have you ever been on a website that made you pause and admire its beauty? That’s a visceral UX design psychology principle. This automatic response to stimuli is due to the brain’s chemical messengers. This reaction is a valuable and powerful tool for UX designers. By evoking visceral reactions, you grab attention and foster loyalty and support for your brand.

Visitors quickly bounce away if a site’s layout needs more immediate appeal. Your design must spark a positive visceral reaction to win over your audience. It’s about an experience so delightful that users can feel it.

Example – Simple design elements like fonts, colors, imagery, and icons play a monumental role in setting the overall vibe of a site. People crave familiarity; it makes them feel comfortable. For reactions, your design should balance uniqueness with relatability. A fresh yet recognizable experience makes your site a destination, and a feeling users want to return to.

Also Read: Human-powered Design vs AI-driven Design: Which is The Future?

Concluding Remark

Understanding and applying these principles can elevate your designs from good to great, ensuring they look pretty and work efficiently, keeping users coming back for more.

Harnessing these UX design psychology principles allows you to craft experiences that resonate on a deeply intuitive level, inviting users into spaces that feel both novel and intimately familiar. As you venture into your next design project, remember to use these elements in your digital tapestries. After all, the heart of great UX lies in creating spaces that users don’t just use but love.

Remember, the essence of good UX design lies in balancing aesthetics with functionality and innovation with familiarity. It’s about creating usable and enjoyable experiences.

About Us: Algoworks is a B2B IT firm providing end-to-end product development services. Operating chiefly from its California office, Algoworks is reputed for its partnership with Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Dell, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Algoworks is an expert in UI/UX Designs with experience catering to enterprises belonging to all domains. This includes: Brand Strategy, Product Design, UX Research, UI & Animation and Design Testing. For more information, contact us here.

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Nauman Ahmad

Nauman Ahmad

Head of Design & Marketing
Nauman Ahmad, Head of Design & Marketing has directed many targeted products to market success for a diverse client portfolio. In his 10+ years with Algoworks, Nauman has been well-known for experimenting with his unparalleled, bold & esoteric ideas; thinking break-throughs and executing unconventional methods. He has pioneered appreciable initiatives at the organization. He is passionate about exploring and experimenting with designs contributing to the development of brand definition. He holds in-depth experience in leading large cross-functional teams to craft authentic experiences for our clients, consistently meeting quality standards.
Nauman Ahmad

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