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11 tried and true laws of UX [Infographic] Blog Feature

Marcella Jalbert

UX Designer, Host of ‘Creator’s Block’ Podcast, Designer for 50+ Sites on HubSpot

February 2nd, 2020 min read

Being a designer is kind of like being a psychologist.

Ok, just kidding-- but there actually is a lot of psychology that comes into play.

Being a good designer means that I’ve learned (at least some of) the whys and hows of how a user will interact with a design.

We humans are actually quite predictable, though it doesn't always seem like it.


Now, the fact that web design isn’t just about making things *look pretty* may come as a surprise to you (like it did to my parents), but it's true.

Design can actually be quite science-y.

Take, for example, a simple hero image.

There are actually a few different tricks we can pull out of our hats to pick the right one.

First, let’s talk about eye lines.

If you are a using a photo with one or two main human subjects the user will follow the eye line being made by the subject of the photo. We designers can use this to our advantage to draw the user’s eye to a call-to-action (CTA) button or critical message.

Clever, huh? 

This goes for a photo with a subject that is pointing too. The user's eye will automatically be drawn in the direction of wherever the subject is pointing. 

But wait, there’s more where that came from.

There are many tried-and-true laws to UX design that may be better described as cause and effect relationships. 

These "laws" are what we use to build a seamless experience for the user and subliminally guide the user’s hand to what we want them to accomplish on the page.

We are sneaky little things, aren’t we? 

The infographic below (Originally published on the Toptal Design Blog) dives into 11 of these UX laws, but here are a few of my own favorites: 

Hick’s Law: The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. (Also often referred to analysis paralysis.) 

This one speaks to the layout and the content, in my opinion.

If you bombard the user with links, buttons, CTAs, and what have you, they are less likely to click on anything. However, give the user a thoughtful one or two next steps based on the page and content they are viewing and the decision to click through will seem like a no-brainer. (Bonus points if you create a contrast in hierarchy with a button versus a link.)

Jacob's Law: Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

Don’t 👏 Reinvent 👏 The 👏 Wheel .👏 

Yes, we all want to be cutting edge, but please consider your target audience when you want to implement that shiny, new mega menu.

If it’s not something your demographic is used to interacting with, it may cause more problems for your user. 

Von Restorff Effect: Also known as The Isolation Effect, this predicts that when multiple similar objects are present, the one that differs from the rest is most likely to be remembered. 

We see this a lot with pricing tables. Ever notice there’s always one option highlighted as the “best deal” or “recommended package”?

Yup, that’s the Von Restorff Effect. 

For a full tour behind the curtain, check out the infographic below!

Originally published on the Toptal Design Blog. 

The Laws of UX

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