Cognitive Psychology for better UX (Part 2)

Welcome back to our journey through the realms of design and psychology! This is part 2 of our in-depth look at how understanding cognitive psychology helps us become better UX professionals.
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In our previous issue, we talked about Cognitive psychology, a branch focused on thought processes and behavior, which provides invaluable insights for improving user experiences. We talked about the 5 reasons for understanding cognitive psychology for a better usability which are tailoring design to mental processes, optimizing attention and information processing, memory and learning consideration, cognitive load reduction, and prevention of errors and recovery. Additionally, 5 cognitive psychology principles—Hicks Law, Emotional Contagion, Principle of least effort, Verbatim Effect, and Principle of Perpetual Habit that elevates product design.

Now we dive deeper into the world and find out the next 5 points where design and psychology intertwines.

Psychology meets Design

Cognitive design refers to the application of principles and insights from cognitive psychology in the field of design. It's about understanding how people think, perceive, and interact with things, and using that knowledge to make products that are user-friendly and effective.

When we build products with cognition in mind, we consider how people see and pay attention, how they remember and solve problems. It helps us decide where to put things, how to organize information, and how to make interactions feel natural.

The goal is to make products that are easy to understand and use. We want users to feel like the overall experience makes sense and it matches how they think. That means reducing confusion and making things clear and intuitive.

5 points that can be leveraged from cognitive psychology to cognitive design

  1. Use Industry standards and stereotypes: There are certain things that users expect when they see a familiar symbol or interact with a control. It's like a little mental shortcut that helps them understand what's going on without even thinking too hard. We call these shortcuts stereotypes, and they can be pretty handy in design. By tapping into these shared expectations, we can create designs that instantly make sense to users. When we follow industry standards and incorporate familiar design patterns, we make it easier for people to navigate our websites, apps, or products. They feel right at home because they know what to expect.
  2. Put information wisely: When it comes to presenting information, we're faced with a bunch of options. These choices can either help us perform better or make things more confusing. Here's the thing: users often just need the big picture, a general idea of what's going on. In those cases, it's super handy to have signals that give us approximate and general information. On the flip side, there are times when we need all the nitty-gritty details, every precise bit of info. It's like zooming in for a closer look. So, as product owners, it is important to know how to strike a balance. We should tailor the presentation of information to meet users' needs, whether that means keeping things simple and general or diving into the specifics.
  3. Provide feedback: Providing feedback to users while they are using the product is the best way to empower them. While using a product, say if the user has put in wrong information and the system alerts them right then there that an error has been made and they need to correct it. This prompt would help the user save time and not go through the whole process again. Feedback acts as a reliable companion, guiding users towards rectifying mistakes. Without appropriate feedback, it becomes akin to navigating in the dark, unsure if errors have been made. This lack of clarity increases the likelihood of repeated errors. By integrating timely feedback, product owners prevent oversight and enhance efficiency.
  4. Provide nudges: Sometimes it is important to nudge the users to take an action. A nudge is like a gentle push or a friendly reminder that encourages you to take that desired action. Nudges can come in different forms, such as visual cues, informative messages, or even interactive elements that guide you in the right direction. They're designed to make the users’ experience smoother, helping them navigate through the interface and accomplish their goals with ease. The power of nudges can make a big difference in guiding users, boosting engagement, and ultimately making their journey more delightful.
  5. Provide exits: We as humans are prone to make mistakes. Often, while using digital products, we click on the wrong button or get stuck in confusing loops. That is where exits are needed for users to get out of unwanted actions without any hassle. By providing exits, we empower users to quickly undo or escape from mistakes, saving them time and frustration.

Psychology- Infused Design

Understanding users is absolutely essential when it comes to creating “mind blowing” products. Seriously, you can't expect to design something awesome if you don't know who you're designing for, right? That's where psychology, especially cognitive psychology, comes into play. Think of it as a secret decoder that helps us unravel how users think, perceive, and interact with products.

Here at Modulr, we follow the 5:5:5 rules to tap into the psychological insights and then fine-tune our products to match the way users' minds work. We optimize their attention, streamline information processing, lighten their cognitive load, and keep those random errors at bay. Let’s also not forget about industry standards and stereotypes. They're like these unwritten rules that people expect and understand. By embracing them and providing timely feedback, we create products that feel familiar and guide users effortlessly through their journey.

So, when we blend psychology and design together, we create these magic moments where users go, "Wow, this is exactly what I needed!"

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