Biz Tips: How to Use Psychology to Improve UX

Biz Tips: How to Use Psychology to Improve UX

Biz Tip:

How to Use Psychology to Improve UX

What’s the first thing you sense when you see the color blue? Cold? Inspired? Calm? These may seem random guesses but if you feel anything along those lines, you’re not alone.

We humans associate certain colors with distinct feelings and tend to give them different meanings as well. But why do we do it? Well, I can’t put a finger on one thing because it could be either, or a combination of one’s psychology, biological conditioning, or cultural developments.

For example, red is associated with heightened emotions, which could be sacrifice, danger, or anger. For some reason, we feel that it’s invigorating, intimidating, but never boring.

I suppose you already understand what User Experience is, and how it’s way more than just colors. A user experience design is more about delivering an overall experience that’s not only intuitive but aesthetically pleasing as well.

Did you know that an exceptional user experience design could improve your website’s conversion rate by up to 400%? That’s a huge bump you would get just by optimizing your User Interface.

Principles of User Experience Design

Let’s look at some of the theories that help you understand how to tap into the human psyche to produce a favorable outcome. The following will help you have a perspective on how you can optimize your user experience design:-

Hick’s Law

Hick's Law

William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman came up with a conclusion in 1952 where they found a correlation between the number of stimuli present and an individual’s reaction time to any given stimulus.

What they found was that the more options were given to the users to choose from, the longer they took to decide what they wanted to go with. (Shocking! Totally!)

But here’s something crazy – The complexity of choices leads to a paradox, meaning that instead of picking one thing and making a decision, the users get confused and they’d rather not make any decision or look for an alternative to make one.

For example, there’s a case study that offers a detailed perspective on what AirBnB got right when it comes to User Experience Design.

However, it also revealed how because lack of personalization at some steps, led to the user having to rely on Google Maps to look for places nearby a food joint, and how one thing led to another and the user ended up booking an apartment from Google Maps itself.

But why did that really happen? It wasn’t because of a lack of options. Rather, it was because of too many options to sort the data from, which overall led to making the decision-making process more complex and time-consuming.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias

The best way to sell someone something is by reinforcing what they already believe to be true. That’s right. We’re all egomaniacs.

If you’ve seen the documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, you already understand how Apps use algorithms to suggest more content related to what we already believe, and why not? It’s profitable after all.

But in terms of user experience design, how people use confirmation bias is by creating infographics and statistics that resonate with their target audience. This is really useful for small businesses because it creates more trust right from the get-go.

For example, look at your YouTube video recommendations and compare them with someone else’s, whose ideology and needs are significantly different from yours. You’ll see the difference between the kind of content that’s being recommended to you vs them.

In terms of user experience design, you can incorporate this principle by using contrasting color schemes, comparatively prominent size spacing, and large and bold texts to draw attention to the point that you’re making. This works when you have or are planning on catering to a specific audience.

Priming

Priming is an idea in Psychology where the vulnerability to one stimulus influences a response to a subsequent stimulus, without intention.

For example, the word GUITAR is recognized more quickly following the word MUSIC than following the word PIZZA. Humans ace it when it comes to pattern recognition.

From reading texts, retrieving objects, identifying people, or finding a way in a city, pattern recognition plays a huge role in our daily lives.

How do we incorporate priming in user experience design? Well, there are multiple types of priming. Let’s take an example of associative priming, which you can easily see being implemented below:-

Hopper

Hopper is a popular platform that has this animated image of an airplane on its website’s homepage. Now when you look at it, you associate that with how your trip would potentially look. Of course, you wouldn’t do it consciously, but it surely works well.

Cognitive Load

Cognitive Load

You’re driving your car, you’re taking the same route you take every day, your favorite song is on, and all of a sudden you find out the road ahead is closed.

You find a different route, might even have to focus on your Maps App, and turns out there’s a lot of traffic on your way. Now the music that you were relishing just a moment ago seems like a distraction. Turn the volume down, and now you’ve gained back a little bit of mental peace.

What you just did was manage your cognitive load. Basically, cognitive load is your ability to utilize your working memory resources. In simple terms, it’s about how much mental load you can take.

If the cognitive load is high, the chances of the user getting overwhelmed and stop using the Website/ App is high. This is why a user experience design is created in a way that doesn’t stress out the user. This can be achieved by dividing an entire process into simple phrases.

A good example would be the dating app Tinder’s sign up process:-

Tinder Signup process

In the above image, you can see all these steps where we ask the users for sharing necessary information to sign up on their App. Had all this information been asked for, on one single page, the user would feel a lot of pressure.

Instead, Tinder divided the information collection form into phases so that the user doesn’t feel overwhelmed. This way, the cognitive load stays less, and the retention time improves.

Anchoring Bias

Anchoring Bias

There is a bias in the human psyche which makes them prefer the first information that they encounter over every other option. This first piece of information that a user encounters is the one that sets the expectation and is called the anchor.

When someone highlights their costliest subscription plans on their website, you’ll look at the other prices as though they don’t have enough features, but it’s just the anchoring bias at play.

Anchoring bias is when you’re trying to portray various plans or products that you have and you clearly want your highest-grossing product or service to be sold.

Therefore, what you need to do in terms of user experience design is to highlight or make that one thing stand out in comparison to other cheaper deals, and this will induce the user to go for the costliest option and can even feel the other options aren’t good enough

Wrapping Up

There are so many tactics like these that you can employ in your user experience design language that you’ll be shocked to see how well they work.

Hopefully, this has served as a guide that was enticing enough for you to go out and create or revamp your existing design using these principles.

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