Why do some designs catch people's attention and convey information at the same time, while others are not that efficient? Many people believe that design only encompasses what we see and other elements related to the visual. In reality, there's much more at stake - psychology plays a key role in design. Unlike art, design isn't evaluated only in terms of aesthetics but rather the embedded psychological principles that hold power to influence the viewers' minds and decisions.
In recent years, the rise of user-centric design has made designers rethink their approach to their creations and delve deeper to understand the target audience. As a result, designers need to be well-versed in the principles of psychology, as they can help inform their work in a number of ways. In particular, understanding how people process information, make decisions and interact with one another can be helpful in creating designs that are both effective and appealing.
Being a vast and subjective field of science, there are endless principles of psychology that can be applied to digital products. However, here are five critical psychological concepts that all designers should be aware of.
Derived from the German word "gestalt," meaning "an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts," Gestalt's principles are further divided into five sub-principles that explain the users' perception of elements concerning each other.
Users are lazy and will take the path of least resistance when interacting with your product. Make sure your design is intuitive and easy to use, or you'll lose users quickly.
Fitt's Law, Hick's Law, Von Restorff Effect, and Gestalt's Principles are among a few that simplify an interface by highlighting and increasing the size of elements, providing precise options, and utilizing spacing between elements to create a specific perception in users' minds.
We tend to copy the behavior of others around us. This psychological effect is known as Mirroring and can be applied to web design by displaying previous and most recent images and stories of positive user interactions on the website. Seeing others use a product or service will make users imitate them.
People are more likely to want something that is scarce or hard to get. This principle is based on the idea that people perceive things that are rare or in short supply as being more valuable.
You can use the principle of scarcity to create a sense of urgency in your designs and encourage people to take action. For example, you could use a limited-time offer or a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency.
The principle of reciprocity is based on the idea that people feel obligated to reciprocate when someone does something for them. This principle can be used to encourage people to take action or to make a purchase.
For example, you could offer a free trial or a discount to encourage people to try your product or service. Or, you could give someone a gift with a note that says "return the favor" to encourage them to do something for you in return.
Before applying psychological principles to a design, designers must ensure to embed them into their work method first. To know more about the role and integration of psychological principles into design, you can check out the Psychology in Design course on ProApp. Happy Learning!