Psychology Principles for Better Design

According to Brandwatch, Instagram has 1 billion users, LinkedIn has 610 million users and Twitter has 330 million users.

These and many more social media platforms have tasted success with a high number of customers and their continued usage. There is a common thread among all these companies — and that is the world-class user experience they provide.

Factors that identify successful experiences

We as users feel like these companies know us personally. As if they know how our brains work and provide us the functions-features that we wished we had. As designers understanding how we all think can help us generate better ideas. This, in turn, will help us craft and deliver better experiences.

Psychology in UX design

In simple terms, psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The behavior usually is a composition of outward action and reaction depicted by facial expressions, movements, speech, etc. The mental processes are internal covert activities such as thinking, feeling, recall, memory, etc.

Principles of psychology
The principles of psychology are as mentioned below -

- Sensation and Perception
Sensation is the activation of receptors in the various sense organs. And perception is the method by which the sensations experienced at any given moment are interpreted and organized in some meaningful fashion.

- Motivation
The force that initiates, directs, and sustains behavior. Why we do what we do.

- Cognition
The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thinking, experience, and the senses.

- Emotions
It is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Emotionality is associated with a range of psychological phenomena, including temperament, personality, mood, and motivation.

All of these together, help us build a framework of the psychology of the users. This study helps us understand how a user would behave or interact with the given product.

Interaction Model

This model assists us in understanding the users’ actions, reactions, and helps in defining a probable pattern.

1. Perceivability
More than visibility we must craft accessible experiences where we can perceive the opportunities to interact in any modality.

2. Predictability
The ability to accurately and confidently predict the outcomes or results of interaction and that it will move us towards our goals.

3. Feedback
The meaningful information about the status and outcomes of interaction and the processes it started, modified, or terminated.

4. Learnability
We can learn and remember interactions when we accurately predict desirable outcomes, avoid errors, and when the feedback is understandable and applicable.

5. Consistency
This includes — appearance, behavior, reaction, meaning, and outcome.

Applying these principles in UX design can help us craft the desired experiences for users. There are few concepts that are derived from these principles which are being used in design widely. For instance — The Von Restorff Effect, Hick’s Law, etc.

Utilizing these psychology principles help designers to gauge and map out what a person understands about the real world through experience, what they expect, and how they may react to certain interactions. A UX designer replicates these experiences in the design of product interactions in the virtual space.



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