Psychology for UX study guide (NN/g)

Interactions between humans and technology are inherently limited by human abilities and their willingness to act. To create the best user experiences, systems need to adapt to people, not people to systems.

Although most people feel like they notice everything going on around them, their ability to do so is very limited. Humans cannot focus their attention on everything at once — their brains automatically filter out anything that doesn’t seem useful. Items that are close together are perceived as being related.

Human memory is limited and imperfect. The limits of human memory affect people’s ability to process information and shape the way information is stored for long periods.

People are not like cameras. They do not objectively capture information and process it the same way as anyone else would. People constantly try to make sense of the world by relying on their own experiences and understandings. However, sometimes these perceptions are accurate and sometimes they are not.

Having more options does not always lead to greater satisfaction. Making choices (especially complex ones) is difficult and requires significant mental effort. Guiding users through decisions by making things simple will improve their experience in every context.

UX designers must create usable designs, but they must also create designs that people are motivated to use. However, leveraging what we know about human motivation in ways that harm people is both unethical and harmful for a business.

Patterns that describe systematic ways in which people deviate from rational thinking are often called biases or heuristics. These biases are mental shortcuts people use to save themselves from doing extra mental work when making sense of the world.

Although they may not realize it, many people are not firmly decided on a course of action until they take it. Psychology describes how people give weight to certain types of information as they choose courses of action and the factors that can nudge their decisions. Trust is foundational to all relationships — including relationships between users and websites. It is important for designs to establish credibility and win users’ trust to develop a long-term relationship.

Don Norman said, “without emotions, your decision-making ability would be impaired.” Emotions play a critical role in daily functioning and determine which experiences will delight people.

The way people use technology affects their lives. Designers must take care to impact people in positive ways through the designs they create.