UX is 20% Technology, 80% Psychology

UX design is more psychology than technology

There’s no doubt that technology and how web sites are built using these technologies is a very important aspect of any digital project. But user experience is indeed more psychological based and uses visitors emotions and feelings to get the desired result.

It is said that a visitor to your site has subconsciously made a decision within the first 8 seconds whether or not they feel comfortable “doing business” with you or having interaction on your site

10 Things to About Human Psychology That Should Inform UX Design

  1. People Don’t Want to Work or Think More Than They Have To:
  2. Firstly, I don’t think many people are going to debate this point if they are really honest with themselves. I’m not arguing that we can’t all have bursts of motivation and be hard-workers, but ultimately we are all lazy behind a keyboard.

  3. People Have Limitations:
  4. At home, media saturates the multi-tasking experience even more with people often watching TV while browsing numerous websites on their laptop and texting a friend on their phone. This kind of behaviour has become so commonplace in our society today that most people would agree they do this, and most would also defend their ability to manage multiple things going on at the same time.

  5. People Make Mistakes:
  6. Yes, mistakes. We all make them. We wish we hadn’t. One snooze button too many. Spending money on things we shouldn’t. Having that extra cocktail at work drinks and breaking out your embarrassing dance moves….I’m divulging too much of my personal life. But what about mistakes in the digital world? What happens when a user makes a mistake on a computer?

  7. Human Memory is Complicated:
  8. Our mind goes through two processes to get the information from Sensory Memory to Short Term Memory. The first process is pattern recognition, where we actively search through our Long Term Memory to find a matching pattern for the new raw data. The second process involves focusing our attention on the stimulus until it moves into our Short Term Memory where it is encoded primarily acoustically and occasionally visually. Our Short Term Memory typically only lasts 30 seconds and has limited capacity to store information because it all occurs in the frontal lobe of our brain.

  9. People are Social:
  10. We are fundamentally driven by the need to belong and to have the approval of our peers. This urge to connect is at our core because of its ability to raise our chances of survival. When we act in accordance with the beliefs, suggestions and commands of the collective, it helps us to reach our goals, including the most primal of sustenance and shelter. Since the nomadic times, when we began hunting in our immediate families we quickly learned that joining forces and hunting together in larger groups meant bigger kills and greater chances of avoiding hunger.

  11. People are Easily Distracted:
  12. People are prone to something called “change blindness”. Depending on what we focus on, we can be completely oblivious to changes around us. Interesting how we only really notice what we are focused on at the time. Taking this into consideration for web design, don’t assume that because you’ve made a small change to a webpage (for instance after a click to a new page) that people will notice. Make things obviously different and bold so the user will easily recognize the difference.

  13. People Crave Information:
  14. It’s simple. It is called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes us seek out things, such as love, food, sex, or even information. The simple act of aspiring to do something and the anticipation of doing it unleashes dopamine in our minds and creates a pleasurable mental state.

  15. Most Mental Processing is Unconscious:
  16. The emotional brain is (obviously) where all emotions are processed, and it is the root of impulses. Because of this it makes a big impact on our decision-making. The old brain and the emotional brain are very connected in the sense that if the old brain is highly aroused (by fear, or desire) the emotional brain deeply processes this information and etches it in our memory.

    Because we are natural visual processors, we respond to pictures and imagery the most. Changes in visuals are easily picked up. Similarly when we think of stories or read, we break the ideas into images in our minds. These images arouse emotions in us. Imagine a news story of a plane crash with a front-page cover of burning, twisted metal shrapnel. That’s going to affect your emotional brain quite a bit. Similarly photos of a sexual nature, food or potentially dangerous scenarios will grab our attention with the old brain and sway our emotions with the midbrain.

  17. People Create Mental Models:
  18. When a user’s mental model and the conceptual model don’t match up, you get a “bad” user experience. Bad in the sense that the user won’t know how to use the thing, it will be hard to learn or they may not accept the thing altogether.

  19. People Understand Visual Systems:
  20. Simply, humans first see the whole form and then notice the details and small changes. If your site has an “unpleasing” form, the design will never be taken to. This means that as designers we shouldn’t start designing the navigation, or the sidebar, or how our buttons will look– but first design the overall shape and then fill in the contents as we go. When creating webpages within a site, if you want to maintain a feeling of continuity and relationship, then the overall form of each page design should remain virtually the same, otherwise the website as a whole will feel disjointed.

To fully understand users and their habits, we not only need to understand the technology, but absolutely must understand the psychology of the human mind.