It has probably never occurred to you to consider the relationship between UX and Psychology. It would be a fair assumption to believe these topics are unconnected, however, UX & Psychology actually go hand in hand.
It is imperative that you have a fundamental understanding of human psychology, to be successful in creating user-friendly web experiences for the masses.
While there are many individual traits that your demographic will possess that makes them unique, there are specific primary attributes that everybody shares. These fundamental psychology traits are most important to consider when developing UX interfaces.
These primary characteristics of all people include:
– We don’t like to do more than what is necessary
– We don’t’ like to think more than we need to
– We have limitations
– We make errors
– We don’t always remember or retain information
– We’re easily distracted
– We want and seek new information
– Much of our thought processing is unconscious
– We learn better with images rather than long text blocks
How psychological should influence UX
By understanding these basic human characteristics, we can be better prepared to implement a successful UX design. We must understand what drives people to behave or perceive an interface in a particular way. We need to be fully aware of the core mechanisms associated with how humans process information, to make decisions.
It should be understood that humans come with a lot of cognitive biases, which are glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions.
While human beings crave more information, many times we find that only a small percentage of the available information is read on a page, while a vast majority is skimmed over and ignored.
Similarly, people may crave a lot of features, however, with our experience, we know that the same people will only be loyal and faithful to a minimal set of features, not bother using the majority of the features that are available to them.
Another important truth to be mindful of is that human memory is imperfect. We will only store a small amount of information in our brain for a brief period unless it is studied repetitively. So, as designers it is critical for us to understand how people store and retain the information that they digest, to help them make better decisions, which will ultimately assist them to complete their required tasks.
The paradox of choice
Hicks Law, or the Hick-Hyman Law named after British psychologist William Edmund Hick, and American psychologist Ray Hyman, reveals the time it takes for people to make a decision, is directly related to the number of choices they have. Increasing options will increase the decision-making time.
Because humans are easily distracted, having excessive choices can often be counterproductive. Over choice can result in an inability to make a decision at all. This is the paradox of choice.
One of the fundamentals of creating good UX
UX commands that multiple options for any given task, be kept to a minimum and only increased where there is a significant value to do so.
Design that takes into account human psychology, and the real limitations of human cognitive function, will ultimately be able to deliver products that match people’s abilities.
When psychology is factored into UX design, the results are significant improvements in user experience.