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10 Laws Every Digital Product Should Follow

by | May 18, 2021 | Design

What’s the most valuable non-design skill that a designer can have? An understanding of the psychology that explains how users behave and interact with digital products. Many laws of user experience were derived from psychology principles or research studies. When designing digital products for an audience, it’s important to take the laws of UX into consideration to improve the overall experience your users have.

Here is WynHouse Software’s collection of top 10 design standards that you should follow:

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1. Aesthetic-Usability Effect

“If it looks good, it will work better.”

The aesthetic-usability effect refers to a user’s impulse to observe aesthetically pleasing products as more effective or efficient, even if they aren’t.

By implementing a visually pleasing design, you can help disguise usability issues from being discovered in your product. This enables a positive response in the human brain that allows it to credit the design as one that works better.

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2. Doherty Threshold

A response time of <400ms is most desirable.

The Doherty Threshold explains that when a response to a command is returned within 400ms, the use of these platforms is considered to be addicting to users.

To improve response time and minimize the perception of waiting, provide system feedback to your users within 400ms. One way to engage your users during their wait is to include an animation to give them something else to focus on.

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3. Jakob’s Law

Users set expectations based on what they’re familiar with.

According to Jakob’s Law, the majority of your users’ time is spent on digital products other than yours. Because of this, users prefer for your product to perform the same as those that they are already familiar with.

You can produce the best experiences for your users by utilizing mental models that already exist. Doing so allows your users to spend their time interacting with your product rather than trying to learn the new model that you’ve applied.

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4. Law of Common Region

If elements are sharing a space with an obvious boundary, they are often considered as groups.

The Law of Common Region refers to elements being assumed as a group because of their position inside of a clear boundary such as a border or background.

When you surround an element or group of elements with an obvious boundary, such as a border, you’re creating a common region. This common region often implies that the elements within are a distinct, related group.

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5. Law of Proximity

Elements that are close to each other are often grouped together.

The Law of Proximity states that objects establish a grouping when they are in close proximity to each other.

Establishing proximity helps your users to understand and organize information more quickly and efficiently.

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6. Law of Prägnanz

The human eye prefers to perceive complex images in their most simple form.

The Law of Pragnanz implies that your brain breaks down images to their simplest form so that you can avoid being overwhelmed by taking in too much information.

Your users are better able to comprehend simple figures rather than complex ones. Because of this, the human eye tries to determine simplicity within complex forms to eliminate the additional work.

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7. Law of Similarity

If elements appear to be visually similar, they are often considered to be related.

The Law of Similarity means that similar elements appear to have relationships even when they are separated.

Distinctions such as color, shape, size, orientation, or movement can help imply that elements are part of the same group. This often indicates that these elements share the same function, such as a link.

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8. Miller’s Law

The human mind can keep 5-9 pieces of information in its working memory at a time.

Miller’s Law refers to the average range of information that can be processed, understood, and remembered at any point in time.

The capacity of short-term memory fluctuates from person to person. To help users get the most out of your content, organize it into smaller, more digestible pieces.

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9. Serial Position Effect

The pieces of information at the start and end of a series are most likely to be remembered.

The Serial Position Effect is the idea that users remember the first and last items in a series more effectively than the items in the middle.

When organizing your content into a list, place the least important information in the middle. The items placed here are less likely to be stored in long-term and working memory, which makes it important to position your key items at the very beginning and end of the list.

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10. Von Restorff Effect

Amongst various similar elements, the one that differs the most from the rest is most likely to be remembered.

The Von Restorff Effect means that it is easiest to remember the object that has a difference from the others it’s placed with.

To ensure your users know which information is most important, make these key items visually distinctive. This can be done by adding a contrast of size, color, motion, and more.

Summary

Psychology and design have a rewarding relationship. As creators, we can utilize psychology to build more intuitive, human-centered products and experiences. For more design tips, ask us about our discovery phase at WynHouse Software.

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