Laws of UX: 6 Essential UX Laws With Practical Examples

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Most people think of design as a creative field that involves creating something visually pleasing. But, not everything that looks pleasing is not easy to understand. UX best practices include creating designs that are appealing but simple to navigate. The ease of use is a crucial deciding factor. The easier your product is to use, the higher the chances of users sticking by you. This brings into the picture the laws of UX. 

Laws of UX is a collection of UX design best practices. Every UX designer must remember and apply this while designing websites and apps. Laws of UX help designers strike a balance between aesthetics and ease of use. As a result, increasing the chances of your customers staying back with you. Some popular laws of UX include Fitts law, Hickā€™s law, Jakob’s law, the Law of Proximity, Millerā€™s law, and Parkinsonā€™s law. Letā€™s look at these laws of UX in detail now.

LawsFocus
Hickā€™s LawOptions & Time Relationship (More options lead to confusion & Thus more time consumption)
Fittsā€™ LawAccessibility of Action (distance of the target action and its size)
Jakobā€™s LawFamiliarity Design (adopting patterns users are familiar with)
Millerā€™s LawHuman memory (reduces the mental effort of the user)
Parkinsonā€™s LawProductivity (limit the time it takes to complete an activity)
Law of ProximityRelationship with nearby objects (humans naturally perceive objects as organized in patterns)

1. Hickā€™s Law of UX

Hick's Law

Hickā€™s law is one of the many laws of UX which takes into account the number of stimuli available to the user. It relates the number of choices available to the user to the time a user takes to make a decision.

The law states that the user will take more time to come to a decision when the user has more options to choose from. In short, hicks law states that the amount of time taken to make a decision relates to the number of choices. An increase in the latter will result in an increase in the former.

For Practical example of hicks law is Netflix provides “Trending Now” & ” Top 10 Movies in India Today” options to reduce users’ decision-making time. You might have often observed that we take a lot of time to select a movie. Sometimes we are unable to select a movie due to indecisiveness and leave the website out of frustration.

Using hick’s law, you can ensure that your users spend more time on your website or app. The utility of hick’s law as a design law is greater when the decision is simple compared to a complex decision. For instance when the user has to choose between 3 options. A complex decision can be to choose from a hierarchy of mutually exclusive options. Another example is Amazonā€™s ā€œAllā€ button on the home page which displays various categories as a menu.

Following are the areas where you can apply hicks’ law:

  • Control display
  • Drop-down and Navigation menus
  • Contact pages or Sign up forms in progressive disclosure
  • Button selection

2. Fitt’s Law of UX

Fitt's Law

Fitts Law aids you in predicting human behavior as well as predicting movement. The man behind this law is psychologist Paul Fitts.

The fitts law makes sure that the target action is accessible to the user. Also, it considers the distance of the target action and its size. Fast motions and small targets result in higher error rates. This is due to a speed-accuracy trade-off. To overcome this issue, the fitts law suggests two things. Firstly, the target buttons should be larger. Secondly, they must have adequate distance between them, especially on mobile screens. In the above figure, you can see Amazon has provided users with two options “add to cart” and ” Buy now”.These options are not only kept closer to the product but are also highlighted.

According to fittā€™s law, the design usability increases when the target action is:

  • It is large enough for consumers to readily select it.
  • Distinct from other interface elements (larger in size and differently colored, for instance)
  • Clickable from any place which makes it simple to carry out the activity
  • Within users’ grasp
  • Requires minimal effort.

3. Jakobā€™s Law of UX

Jacob's Law

Jakob’s law was created by Jakob Nielsen, the director of the Nielsen Norman Group. Nielsen believes that you should design for familiarity.

The best UX practices are user-centric. Designers should keep this in mind. Furthermore, they must focus on adopting patterns users are familiar with. For example, Myntra and Flipkart have similar e-commerce designs. The product listing part of most e-commerce is similar either to Amazon or Flipkart.

You can adapt Jakobā€™s law to design in the following areas:

  • workflows
  • page navigation
  • structure
  • positioning of similar items.

Jakobā€™s law stops users from overloading information. Thereby allowing them to continue interacting with your interface. Also, it is by far the easiest UX law to put in place among all the laws of UX.

4. Millerā€™s Law of UX

Miller's Law

UX psychology is all about understanding human behavior and its problems. It also involves creating a user experience to match the behavior or solve the problem. One such area of discussion in UX psychology is human memory. Millerā€™s law is one such influential UX law that addresses memory.

According to Millerā€™s law, humans can hold up to 7 (plus or minus 2) bits of information in their working memory. Millerā€™s rule is recurrent teaching not only in the field of psychology but also in design. It helps you to organize your information in a way that users are able to keep most of it.

Therefore, as per Millerā€™s rule, it is best for a designer to present information in a way that reduces the mental effort of the user. You can do this by chunking bits of information together.

You can successfully include millerā€™s law by adopting the following practices:

  • As Hicks’ Law implies, limit your options.
  • To lessen the learning load, design based on learning patterns (remember Jacob’s Law).
  • Maintain a clutter-free design with fewer design elements competing for users’ attention.

With more than 7 items, the user becomes confused and loses attention. As a result, he no longer remembers the location of the option he is looking for. That is why designers bundle together options in apps or services to save memory usage.

5. Parkinsonā€™s Law of UX

Law of UX-Parkinson's law

Parkinsonā€™s law is yet another one of the UX best practices designers must keep in mind while designing. It is well-known in a variety of sectors, especially among productivity aficionados. No wonder why Parkinson’s law is also known as the Law of Productivity.

The law states: You should limit the time it takes to complete an activity to the time consumers expect it to take. That is, any task is extended until the amount of time available to perform it is totally depleted. Our brain relaxes when we have more time. Similarly, when we are under time constraints, we concentrate on finishing on time.

This UX design best practice asks the designer to reduce the actual time needed to finish the job. This is for improving the user experience.

6. UX Law of Proximity

Law of UX - Law of Proximity

The law of Proximity (proximity psychology) is one of the principles of grouping. It is also popularly known as Gestaltā€™s law of grouping. Furthermore, it is a well-discussed concept in psychology, finding a spot in the laws of UX.

Moreover, the UX law of proximity revolves around the perception of the user on seeing the stimuli. It believes that humans naturally perceive objects as organized in patterns.

UX law of proximity helps the designers establish a relationship with nearby objects. Furthermore, It requires you to place objects or design elements sharing similar characteristics closer. The proximity principle aids in organizing information more effectively.

You must consider how you organize elements to generate common region elements. To clarify, the UX law of proximity requires the deliberate use of whitespace to divide or unite objects. This is to illustrate meaningful groupings. An apt example will be grouping products from the apple store together on the website.

Conclusion

The laws of UX mentioned above are one of the most commonly applied UX laws. They are simple to use and can increase the utility of your design. These UX laws form an integral part of UX design best practices.

In short, the Laws of UX help you in ideating, designing, and collaborating. It allows you to design products as per your clientā€™s liking and user preferences. Furthermore, laws of UX like Hickā€™s law, Fittsā€™s Law, and the Law of Proximity, among other UX laws, ease information organization. It gives you a push in the right direction.

Fortunately, you donā€™t have to rely only on these 6 laws of UX for direction and inspiration. There are other laws of UX to help you. Some laws of UX deal with the size of elements, while some deal with grouping items.

In conclusion, these laws of UX give you adequate insight into human psychology. This aids in designing products with the greatest user satisfaction. Combined with your imagination, the laws of UX are a powerful tool. You can leverage it to make users stay longer. Furthermore, you can help them complete their intended action or solve their problems. A little more thought on the laws of UX can take you and your designing talent places!

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