User Experience & Psychology


UX design & Psychology have a long-term relationship (social, behavioral and cognitive). Most of the human actions are driven by motivation and competition. According to Maslow’s Theory, humans crave for psychological needs before any other basic need, and the motivation to fulfill other needs come right after they have met psychological needs. Similarly, for design, any UX to work it must meet the primary need of a working functionality with a reliable and consistent experience to provide motivation for any user to continue using the product or service.

A designer who doesn’t understand human psychology is going to be no more successful than an architect who doesn’t understand physics..

Here are 8 psychological hacks that could help you become an awesome UX designer and create engaging UX

1. Please! Stop Repeating My Actions
Try to recall that last you yawned, most of the time people next to you also end up yawning. No, yawning is not contagious as there’s no scientific evidence to back it. On the contrary, it could be a physiological phenomenon called mirroring reflex, and the official term for it is the Chameleon Effect.

Remember how sometimes you’re watching a video or listening to someone talk and you subconsciously nod your head in agreement? Especially when someone close to you is talking. You do this to make the person feel that you’re reacting and showing empathy towards him/her.

2. Duolingo The App
Duolingo, shameless or smart? In my opinion, smart. Combining a perfect copy with that design of the language bird’s emotions, they’re trying to emulate emotions into their users. 3. Design Interaction
That’s why designers embark upon designing emotional interactions in their products because as humans, we feel when we use a product or let’s say interact with a screen. Using emotional interactions, designers are capable of changing our emotions based on how the product wants us to feel.

by Alex 21 6


That Must Be Nice Because It Looks Good


People who tend to lack technical understanding about a particular niche of technology, judge the outcome or product from how it appears aesthetically to them. This phenomenon is called the Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Emotional factors that navigate you to make such conclusions could be anything, a photograph you liked, maybe, the design that has your favorite colors or a cool animation that caught your eye.

Resources for aesthetic desing

1. Pintrest
2. Benhance
3. Instagram
4. Usability Geek
5. Medium

by Alex 21 6


Oh! Thank You, I needed that Assurance

Social Validation

Have you ever seen a loading screen stuck at 99% and thought “Maybe I should just wait a while longer” but that wait, never ends, or does it? Okay, maybe sometimes it does, but it has happened to every one of us. Emotional factors that navigate you to make such conclusions could be anything, a photograph you liked, maybe, the design that has your favorite colors or a cool animation that caught your eye. Eventually, when these designs fail to perform, users usually end up blaming themselves for incorrect usage. The positive emotional responses tend to overlook the lack of sustainable functionalities.

The Placebo
Many doctors have claimed that patients sometimes are given substances having absolutely no therapeutic value, but the patients believe they’re getting clinical help and eventually end up feeling better. This phenomenon is called the Placebo Effect.

Assurance boosts confidence:
Used by marketers for advertisments.
Marketing Campaigns made out of the pop-cult favorite- "FOMO"

Assurity and Sense of an action being taken place
Reality is that the page or screen will load at the same pace irrespective of the user makes that action or not. The animation is there to provide users a sense of assurance. Until no harm is caused, some cheeky trickery can help designers achieve more engagement from the users.
You could easily be a victim of it, and a very subtle example of this is the “Pull-to- Refresh” animation.

by Alex 21 6


Did I Just Hear Someone Call My Name?


How often does it happen that you’re having a couple of drinks with your co-workers trying to engage yourself in an uninteresting conversation, and suddenly you hear someone mentioning your name in some other conversation? How were you able to hear your name from a conversation that you weren’t a part of?

This is a psychological phenomenon and it is called the Cocktail Party Effect. Remember how you buy a new car and then every time you see the same model pass by, in your mind, you’re like- “How come so many people bought this car after I bought it?”, this is exactly that.

1. Designers being smart
Smart designers and to some extent even copywriters understand this effect and use it to grab your attention. If you use a smartphone, you probably know how accustomed you’re to check your phones for notifications at regular intervals, and how sometimes you’d latch-up the device on the sound of a mobile notification.
If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps. Make sure your niche aligns with your knowledge of producing niche specific content.

2. Copywriters working their magic
Smart copywriters use your name in their copies to grab the attention.
You might have seen your name used in email subjects and sometimes on the top left corner of webpages as a form of greeting, these all are a form of tiny gimmicks designers and writers do to keep you engaged.

by Alex 21 6


One Simply Doesn’t Listen To The Middle Child

The third wheel

You probably might have read about the middle child syndrome, it’s a psychological condition that exists in children who are born after and before a child i.e. the in-betweeners.
Children with this syndrome often feel left out and secluded from their families.

A very similar psychological effect can be observed when it comes to remembering stuff among humans, it is called the Serial-Position Effect.

Serial-Position Effect:

-This is term demonstrates that people tend to remember only the first and the last part of a series they just saw or read, and often neglect the middle part.
-Designers use this effect to position items in a sequence for accurate recall.
-They manipulate the serial -position effect to create a better user experience and the use of this effect could be seen in popular brands like Nike, Apple, etc.
-Human memory is limited, especially storing information for the short-term.
-Healthy parent involvement and intervention in the child’s day-to-day life lay the foundation for better social and academic skills.

by Alex 21 6


Yes, Over Here, Right Next To 50 Odd People. Can’t You See?

Too much blurry-blurry

Whenever a user is prompted with multiple stimuli, he/she in most cases will take longer to choose one from the options available. This finding was discovered by British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, and it was named after them- Hick’s Law.

Users don’t want to be bombarded with choices, with more options, they’ll need more time to interpret and make decisions, forcing them to work their mind, which they don’t want.

1. Amazon Affiliate Ads
2. Get Paid in Commission
3. Write blogs to make money
4. Social Media Marketing
5. Influencer Marketing

by Alex 21 6


You Look Familiar, So I Guess I Know You


You’d have observed that people opt for choices that appear familiar to them, for example, people who’ve used the iPhone tend to continue using it or upgrade only when a better version of it is available, you’d hardly see any iPhone user upgrading or switching to an Android experience.

Trim the grass and make sure all flowerbeds are freshly mulched and free of weeds. Prune overgrown shrubs, especially if they’re hiding windows or blocking the entryway.

Mere-exposure effect
Smart designers come up with strategies where they place the CTAs at positions on the screen that are habitual for an average user to look at, or at positions where users navigate their mouse pointers involuntarily.

Button Positioning
For example, designers place the “next” button on the top right corner of webpages because they know the user will search for the “home” button there.

CTA Placement
That is the reason you’ll see most of the CTAs and action catches like the User Profile and Notification Icons on the right top corner.

by Alex 21 6


Cancel, OK & The X- The Trilogy


Designers use the method of redundant actions to provide users an illusion of control. Designers create this situation to make users believe that they’re the ones with their hands on the steering.

Pre-event anxiety
This lets the users feel confident about the possibility of the outcome. Psychologists have confirmed that we as humans tend to become anxious if we cannot pre-determine the events of our life-course.

2. Same action, but two buttons.
One of the simplest examples of this is the “X” button on the dialog boxes. In reality, the user has only two options to choose from, i.e. either cancel the action or click the “OK” button to continue.

3.The Power of X
Meanwhile, there’s another “X” button which has the same functionality as the “Cancel” button, but for users, it translates into “I’m not sure, hence I don’t wish to make a decision.” Designers use these small tricks to keep users engaged and happy.

by Alex 21 6