Making Science
Victor Manasé
Victor Manasé
UX Product Manager

Psychology in digital product design

Tuesday July 24th, 2018

Design of user experience and Psychology

Nowadays, psychology is a fundamental factor when we talk about Design of user experience, since for product designers, knowing the cognitive and behavioral processes of users allows us to design recognizable, usable and differentiating contexts.

Different psychological foundations are included in a digital hyperconnection era in which designers seek differential value by knowing direct and indirect factors related to our discipline. In this sense, psychology plays a fundamental role in the perception and behavior of the user.

One of the maxims of user experience design is that the design passes from subjectivity to objectivity and this is achieved thanks to the endorsement of the data, of working with results and of the full knowledge of the behavior of the users to make decisions of design.

Next, we show you different psychological foundations that allow users to perceive sensations such as ease of use, recognition, simplicity, usability, differentiation, etc.

Von Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff effect determines how, compared to several similar objects, the one that differs from the rest will suppose a greater degree of latency with the user. In other words: the different components generate an isolation effect by which it tends to be remembered.

Techniques such as making an aesthetic treatment differentiating between components of the same type, isolating those with a greater degree of strategic importance and providing them with a design aspect.


Here we see one of the many examples that we have today at Apple.

Serial position effect

Also known as the effect of primacy and recent effect, determines how the user is prone to store in the long-term memory (episodic memory) those elements that lead or culminate a series, remembering them better and for longer.

This principle is basic for the ordering of navigation menus: it reserves the first and last positions for the sections with the greatest strategic importance.

Instagram is a good example. The first element is Home (People) and the last element is Profile (You). The most important and core parts of the use of the application.

Hick’s Law:
“The time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of options increases”
So the time it takes a user to make a decision increases the more options you have included, the user tries to contemplate all the possible options and what it entails and then takes the one that they consider the best option.

Another of the real examples is the Airbnb website, where the cognitive load is reduced to limits to facilitate the decision-making process, helping and guiding the user in the process so as not to work on the memory of actions but in the recognition of the actions.

Ley de Miller
Según esta ley las personas pueden recordar hasta 7 elementos distintos en su memoria de trabajo. Es por ello que los menús de opciones y navegación en una página web más o menos están basados en este tamaño. Más de 7 elementos genera confusión y pérdida de foco del usuario, no es capaz de recordar donde estaba una opción que ahora busca.

Por eso en aplicaciones o servicios que tiene multitud de opciones, se agrupan estás para reducir la carga de memoria.

En conclusión, estos son algunos de los muchos principios y fundamentos psicológicos que los diseñadores trabajamos en los procesos de diseño de productos digitales, principios que tratados bajo una metodología de user centered design se tornan fundamentales para llegar a obtener productos de valor.

Víctor Manasé Mayo - UX Product Manager

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