Unlocking the potential of user-centric design lies in understanding the hidden patterns that shape our digital interactions. In our daily lives, we have habits or patterns that help us simplify decision-making. From the moment we wake up and reach for our smartphones, to navigating websites and applications throughout the day, these patterns influence our actions and shape our experiences. Similarly, UX design also has its own set of patterns that assist designers in creating user-friendly interfaces.
These UX design patterns are not arbitrary; they are grounded in psychological principles and cognitive biases, aiming to elicit desired user responses and emotions while promoting effective actions. By understanding and leveraging these patterns, designers can craft products that solve problems, minimize errors, and ultimately satisfy users.
However, it’s important to note that these patterns are not rigid rules set in stone. Instead, they should be considered as helpful guidelines that provide insights into user behavior and preferences. While following existing patterns is often easier than creating new ones and teaching them to users, designers should also be open to innovation and adapt patterns to suit specific contexts and user needs.
Are Patterns in UX Design Essential?
Understanding these patterns is crucial for creating problem-solving products with minimal errors and high user satisfaction. However, they should be seen as helpful guidelines rather than strict rules.
Following existing patterns is easier than creating new ones and teaching them to users
Top 9 Patterns to Follow in UX Design
Another essential UX design pattern is Hick’s Law, which states that the more options there are, the longer it takes to make a choice. This law, proposed by Mr. Hick in 1952, highlights the challenge of decision-making when faced with numerous choices. As UX designers, we aim to alleviate this burden for users.
If reducing the number of options is not possible, breaking them down into simpler steps can be an effective strategy. The goal is to make the choice process easier for users.
Netflix is a great example of implementing Hick’s Law. Despite having an extensive library of shows, Netflix introduced the “Top 10 in your country” feature, which helps users discover popular content quickly. This is a practical application of Hick’s Law in action.
One important UX design pattern to follow is Fitts Law, which states that the likelihood of achieving a goal depends on the size and placement of interactive elements. In simpler terms, the farther and smaller an object is, the harder it is to accurately reach it. Designers should consider this law when placing controls in interfaces, ensuring that interface elements are large and easily accessible for users.
A good example of this is the Patreon website, where users can click on both the text menu and the entire block.
Jacob’s Law: Prioritize Familiarity
Another important UX design pattern is the familiarity principle, which states that the more familiar a website looks to users, the more they will like it. When browsing the internet, you may have noticed that many websites share similar design elements. While this may initially seem unoriginal, in the context of websites, it is about prioritizing usability over uniqueness.
As a designer, it is essential to acknowledge that users spend a significant amount of time on other websites. When they visit a new website, the last thing they want is to learn entirely new concepts and navigation patterns.
Jakob Nielsen, a UX specialist, emphasizes the importance of not overwhelming users with unfamiliar elements and instead utilizing familiar design patterns.
Pragnanz Law: Embrace Simplicity
Derived from Gestalt psychology, states that the human brain tends to interpret complex phenomena by perceiving them as simpler forms. In 1910, psychologist Max Wertheimer observed that a row of blinking fires appeared as a continuous moving line to the human brain. This is because the brain has a natural inclination to simplify complex information and avoid overwhelming itself.
Therefore, it is important not to make the UX interface overly mysterious to users, as they may either fail to understand it or simplify it in their minds to a more manageable form. This principle is particularly relevant when designing icons for websites.
The Law of Closeness
The Law of Closeness, stemming from Gestalt theory, states that elements that are positioned close to each other are perceived as a single group. If you want to establish a visual relationship between elements, it is important to place them in close proximity to one another.
The Law of the Inward and Outward
The Law of the Inward and Outward, which is a component of the Law of Closeness, states that to differentiate one element from others, it should be positioned at a greater distance. This principle recognizes that complex elements are composed of smaller objects, such as letters forming words or words forming lines. To emphasize the distinctiveness of a particular object, it is necessary to increase the spatial separation between it and other objects.
“On average, a person can focus his attention on seven elements at once“
In 1956, American psychologist George Miller discovered that the human brain can remember an average of 7 (+- 2) objects. Therefore, for clarity in the interface, limit the number of items to around 5 or 9. Long lists can be useful, but they can also overwhelm users. It is recommended to divide them into categories.
“People better remember the first and the last elements in a row“
It’s as simple as that!
The Edge Effect in UX design capitalizes on the human brain’s tendency to remember the first and last elements in a sequence. By strategically placing important information or call-to-action elements at the edges, designers can increase their impact and user recall. For example, showcasing key products or featured content at the beginning or end of a list can enhance their memorability. By leveraging this pattern, designers can optimize the user experience by ensuring that crucial elements are noticed and remembered.
The Von Restorff effect
The Von Restorff effect, also known as the isolation effect, states that among a group of similar objects, the one that stands out as different will be most noticeable and memorable. Psychiatrist Von Restorff discovered this phenomenon, highlighting that isolated elements within a group tend to be more memorable. As a tip for designers, if you want to draw attention to something, make it visually distinct or keep it isolated from other elements to enhance its prominence.
- UX design should prioritize accessibility and clarity.
- Avoid hiding important menu sections that are necessary for both users and the business.
- It is crucial to provide users with a clear understanding of their current location on the website at all times.
- Transitions between different sections of the website should be seamless and straightforward.
- When planning the user’s flow, consider the context and carefully design the navigation to enhance the overall user experience.
- Apply cut-and-defer rules.
- Remove any fields the user doesn’t need to continue. Collect optional information only after the purpose has been achieved.
- Optimize your design for the mobile version.
- Link directly from headline to call to action to minimize distractions and create a clear path to closing.
- When designing a webpage, it is important to maintain a clear and structured hierarchy.
- Guide users on what actions they should take by including a prominent Call to Action.
- Prioritize essential elements on the page, considering the decision-making process users will go through.
- Utilize meaningful and relevant images, avoiding unnecessary visuals.
- Aim for a balanced and contrasting design to create visual appeal and enhance user experience.
By implementing these user-friendly recommendations, UX designers can enhance usability, engagement, and overall user satisfaction with their interfaces.
These patterns play a crucial role in shaping the user experience and guiding designers in creating intuitive and engaging interfaces. By understanding and applying these patterns effectively, designers can create user-centered designs that cater to the needs and preferences of their target audience.