Psychology in Design & how it affects the UX of a product?

6 min readJul 19, 2022


Design is not just about aesthetics and functionality. Understanding user behaviour plays a key role in defining the UX of a product. Design, according to Donald A. Norman in his book “The Design of Everyday Things,” is a form of communication, requiring the designer to have a thorough grasp of the audience.

Designers are advised to keep in mind the psychological principles of human behaviour, aspirations, and motivations in order to better understand users’ needs. There is a lot of overlap between the fields of psychology and design.

To better understand the topic, let’s first discuss a few major principles of psychology in UI/UX design & their impact.

Key psychology principles of UI/UX design


It’s our job as designers to simplify complex information so that it’s understandable to the end-user. After all, effective communication aims for simplicity. Hick’s Law is directly related to this. Hick’s Law states that as the number and complexity of options increase, so does the time required to make a decision.

In 1952, psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman came up with the theory after studying the relationship between a person’s reaction time to a given stimulus and the number of stimuli present. It implies that users will have to spend more time processing information when the interface is more complicated, which is relevant to a theory of psychology in UI/UX design known as cognitive load.

The number of options on TV remote controls has grown in lockstep with the number of features available in televisions over time. We ended up with remotes that required either muscle memory from repeated use or a significant amount of mental processing before we could operate them.

As a result, the term “grandparent-friendly remote” came to be used. Grandkids were able to make remote controls easier to use for their elderly relatives by taping off all but the most essential buttons. They then shared these hacks with the rest of us via social media.


Another important principle of psychology in UI/UX design is Miller’s Law, which predicts that the average person can only keep seven (plus or minus two) items in their working memory at any given time.

Short-term memory and memory span were discussed in 1956 by cognitive psychologist George Miller in a paper. This heuristic has been misinterpreted many times over the years, and as a result, the “magical number seven” has been invoked to justify arbitrary restrictions (for example, limiting interface menus to no more than seven items).

Miller was also intrigued by the idea of “chunking” and our capacity to retain information in this manner. When used in the context of design, chunking can be a powerful tool.

Chunking refers to the practice of visually organising related information into small, separate bits of data. Content chunking in design facilitates processing and comprehension. In line with how we typically consume digital content, users can scan the content and quickly identify what they are interested in.


According to Jakob’s law, users prefer your site to function the same way as all the other sites they already know because they spend the majority of their time on other websites.

The familiarity with a digital product or service aids users in understanding how to use it, from interacting with the navigation to finding the content they need to process the layout and visual signals on the page in order to understand the options offered.

Mental effort is saved over time, resulting in a lighter cognitive burden.

That’s an example of human psychology in UI/UX design that reflects that the less time and effort users must use learning a new interface, the more time and energy they have to devote to attaining their goals. People are more likely to succeed if we make it easier for them to accomplish their goals.


In light of the enormous number of conceivable colour combinations, it may be difficult to identify which one will have the greatest impact on a website or application. Even while it’s impossible to look at every aspect of colour psychology in UI/UX design, there are a few tricks and patterns to keep an eye out for.

Remember, a poor colour scheme can detract from the entire user experience and even interfere with their ability to use a website or app efficiently, taking it from good to exceptional. Colours have the power to elicit a range of feelings in a wide range of people.

Individuals of different ages and sexes have varying sensitivities to different hues and tones. Colour psychology is influenced by a variety of cultural factors. As a general rule, everyone has a favourite colour.

Our cultural upbringing is one thing that affects our taste in colours. There are a number of cultural meanings that may be attributed to the colour white. White, on one hand, is associated with chastity and purity in the west but is often associated with death and grief in regions of Asia.

Web and UX designers must consider this as the best UX practice to boost accessibility that defines the cultural meanings of colour palettes while creating a website or product for their respective target audiences. This means that when designing for one culture, designers don’t have to worry about the impact their choice of colour palette may have on people in other cultures. For items aimed at a worldwide audience, a balance between colours and graphics is necessary to avoid unwanted cultural implications.

In the world of conversion rate optimization, there’s always been a discussion about whether the colour red or green is more eye-catching for a button. Another study on psychology in UI/UX design indicates that A/B test findings demonstrate that changing the colour of a CTA button can have a significant influence on the number of signups.

The following is a well-known test from HubSpot’s early days.

Though the green button was expected to lead to a greater conversion rate and perform better, the red button outperformed by 21% more clicks.

There are a plethora of colours and colour combinations to choose from, making it difficult to know which ones work best for your website or product.

Mostly all the brands work around colour psychology in UI/UX design to connect with the users.

In conclusion, we could go on and on about colour psychology and the meanings of colours in design for hours. However, when it comes to designing for your users, you’ll want to dig into the psychology of colour. You can also learn more about UX designing as a UI designer from this perspective.

Don’t create generalisations based on outcomes, instead, utilise them as considerations for psychology in UI/UX design while designing a UX product. If you want the greatest results in terms of improving the user experience and increasing conversions, you should always run colour tests with your target audience on your own product.

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