101 Cognitive Biases & Principles that Affect your UX
So to improve your user experience, you need to understand the biases & heuristics affecting those four decision-cycle steps. Below is a list of cognitive biases and design principles (with examples and tips) for each category. Let’s dive right in. 👀Hick’s Law More options leads to harder decisions Expand ↓ Hick’s Law Definition Hick’s Law predicts that the time and the effort it takes to make a decision, increases with the number of options. The more choices, the more time users take to make their decisions. Hick’s Law Examples Trello’s 3rd signup step has a dropdown with 15 options. That makes it hard to pick one: In a travel booking app like Airbnb, having too many options can lead to a paradox of choice (and a churn!): Duolingo’s list of lessons can sometimes be overwhelming: Zapier showed too many navigation links during their upgrade flow which distracts you from crucial checkout steps: Hick’s Law Checklist Find an area where you have a lot of options or a lot of repetitions. Try to either reduce the number of options or find ways to hide items. (Do they all need to be displayed at once? #progressive disclosure) If you can’t minimize the options, try to put them in an easily skimmable order and make sure the items are familiar; else, it won’t work. 💼Confirmation Bias People look for evidence that confirms what they think Expand ↓ Confirmation Bias Definition People tend to search for, interpret, prefer, and recall information in a way that reinforces their personal beliefs or hypotheses. Confirmation Bias Examples In times of crisis it’s hard not to look for what we want to believe in: 👁Priming Previous stimuli influence users’ decision Expand ↓ Priming Definition Subtle visual or verbal suggestions help users recall specific information, influencing how they respond. Priming works by activating an association or representation in users short-term memory just before another stimulus or task is introduced. Priming Examples The friendly-looking airport landscape lets the users dream about their next trip increasing the chances of a positive experience: Superhuman’s onboarding includes a priming on the fact that you’ll receive some helpful onboarding emails from their CEO Anti-Example: Tinder misses a great opportunity to prime new singles during the onboarding: 🚛Cognitive Load Total amount of mental effort that is required to complete a task Expand ↓ Cognitive Load Definition Cognitive load is the total amount of mental effort that is required to complete a task. You can think of it as the processing power needed by the user to interact with a product. If the information that needs to be processed exceeds the user’s ability to handle it, the cognitive load is too high. Cognitive Load Examples A great example of reducing the load is Tinder’s profile onboarding: Hopper’s results page has loads of information to parse, making the task of choosing a date harder: Mario Kart’s home page is packed with graphics and gizmos. However, it wasn’t random, find out why they designed it that way: ⚓️Anchoring Bias Users rely heavily on the first piece of information they see Expand ↓ Anchoring Bias Definition The initial information that users get affects subsequent judgments. » Read More
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