A few things your UX designer can learn from your shrink, Locomotive style

Locomotive®
3 min readJan 9, 2023

Did you know that some well-known psych concepts pop up in website design? Straight from our UX strategist Sacha Haouzi, let’s revisit some Locomotive web projects that happen to highlight three of these simple things — all in the name of sharing knowledge and tips to help us all build the best user experiences possible.

Carbon Beauty & the Halo effect

From the first time, we see a person, an object, or any other product, we unconsciously assign them superficial characteristics, whether positive or negative. In our brains, from the very first interaction, an impression takes hold without knowing it.

On an e-commerce site, the home page, animations and colours used are all important elements that affect a user’s judgement (even if they don’t realize it). If the site isn’t visually attractive, the user will have a bad impression as of their first visit. So, the first screen the user encounters is really a deciding factor, as it will influence their perception of the site and their journey.

Example:

In the case of Carbon Beauty, an e-commerce site selling beauty products, the Halo effect can help build user loyalty and add credibility to our website. From a user’s first arrival to the site, attractive and sober images of products are complemented by animations and a fast loading speed.

Air Inuit & Hick’s Law

Hick’s law describes the time users take to make decisions according to the number of choices offered to them. The larger the number of choices, the more time it takes to decide. This law can easily be applied in website menus, where the number of pages placed at the first level influences the time it takes to make decisions.

A website menu is a decision-making space for users. If we respect Hick’s law, more pages in your navigation means it will take longer for the user to know where to go to find the information they need.

Example:

Air Inuit has 4 main sections, which are the 4 entry points of the site. These are accessible on the first level, with a drop-down menu specific to each section. Then, the other 4 secondary sections are available in these menus, with the goal of avoiding a heavy navigation experience, prioritizing the type of information, and optimizing the time it takes to make decisions. So instead of having 8 sections, you put forward only the 4 big ones. If you want to see the others, you can, but with another menu. Less choices to optimize decision-making time.

Air Inuit & the Von Restorff effect

The Von Restorff effect is a cognitive bias that tells us that when exposed to several similar objects, people tend to favour the one that’s different. In fact, most designers use this principle without even knowing it to put forward an element that’s different from the rest. This distinctive element can be visual, a change of size, shape, or even colour.

Example:

On Air Inuit, the user icon and alert icon are represented the same way. But the red notification on the alert icon focuses the user’s attention on the alert section of the site.

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Locomotive®

Digital-first design agency and Awwwards Agency of the Year.