Thought processes, behavioral patterns, the predictability of experiences — these are subjects of study in both psychology and UX design.
Understanding psychology directly improves how well you design, but how can that help short of getting a Masters? Read these 14 design psychology articles for a crash course in designing for the human mind.
If one person can teach about web psychology, it’s Liraz Margalit, PhD, and resident psychologist at a website optimization firm. Her feature covers the basics, including stress responses, instincts, and the expectation of perceived control.
If there was every any doubt, this piece proves the deep link between psychology and UX design, not to mention to one of many peculiarities of the mind. More than dwelling on the science, Ivana McConell also offers some good workarounds to a bad experience.
Ximena Vengoechea and Nir Eyal team up to explain the right and the wrong way to design notifications, and their role in developing habit loops to ensure a user’s repeated and continual patronage.
As a UX designer, you’re in charge of your user’s behavior, for better or worse. Nadine Kintscher explains how designers can influence and guide what they user does, including tips on motivation mapping and identifying triggers.
Psychology isn’t just about how we think, speak, and act — it’s also how we see. Learn some science about human eyesight and viewing patterns, and more importantly how to apply them to UX design.
A fascinating read for everyone, but professionally applicable for UX practitioners, Steven Bradley’s piece dissects the greater meanings behind everyday shapes.
Closure experiences, with definitive beginnings and endings, can have a great effect on the user’s mind, but in experience and reflection. Joe Macleod describes the relevant psychology behind closure experiences, and solid tactics for making the most of them.
This piece shines a light on dark patterns, UI patterns that rely on deception or misleading the user to influence their behavior. Harry Brignull discusses them in-depth and with an open-mind, at times even defending them, and compares them with honest alternatives.
As part of an ongoing series, the UserTesting team studies individual psychology principles and their applications in UX design. The entry on the Principle of Least Effort complements Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, explaining why we prefer faster, automatic responses to calculated analysis, and its implication on UX design.
Another entry to the UserTesting series, this article covers what users pay attention to and why. Using scientific backing, the piece describes topics like inattentional blindness, compromised attention spans, and what causes items to become background noise.
Just as the title suggests, the article gives 5 practical interaction design techniques based in psychology — ranging from empathy tips to shortcuts for establishing emotional connections, to — plus the best practices for applying them.
What are high converting sites doing that you’re not? Peter Boyle brings psychology to CRO, spelling out concepts like the decoy effect, the pleasure principle, the Law of Prägnanz, Hick’s Law, and mental models.
A broad discussion of psychology in web design, but nevertheless full of actionable techniques any designer can use, Stephen Moyer’s article is a good place to start for beginners. He talks a little on a lot, covering the deeper meanings in colors, imagery, and typefaces.
Every color — even every shade — creates predictable emotional responses in the viewer, even if subtle. Learn the 12 most common colors and their implications on web design, including screenshot examples from real sites for each one.
More UX Best Practices
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