What You Should Know About Cognitive Psychology and User Experience Design

A website might nonetheless provide user experiences that are below a particular standard, even if it is flawless from a UI standpoint. UX developers require not only technical expertise but also a comprehension of how the human mind functions.

You will be able to assist users in understanding and interpreting a digital product you are building by being aware of how online users think and behave. Given this, it comes as no real surprise that delivering seamless user experiences requires the integration of both UX design and cognitive psychology.

Its essential tenets, which center on fulfilling user demands, emphasizing usability, and maintaining consistency in design, are probably recognizable to experienced UX designers. These guidelines will serve as the foundation for every well-known digital agency.

A few essential guidelines are listed in the “Hippocratic Oath for UX Designers” that every UX designer should adhere to. A few of these include:

  • Consider your user’s privacy
  • Do not forget that empathy, compassion and warmth are essential for successful UX design
  • Be as user-centric as possible while creating your design

The usability, accessibility, readability, and ease of navigation of the user are the UX designer’s top priorities at all times, according to these guidelines.

An effective UX designer needs at the very least to have a rudimentary understanding of psychology and human nature to do all of this. To ensure an effective and engaging design, they must understand what influences consumers to select one product over another.

We will examine cognitive psychology and discuss how it may be used to produce high-caliber UX design. Research in the discipline of cognitive psychology focuses on how the following mental processes impact human behavior:

  • The memory
  • Consists of attention
  • Based on thinking
  • About perception
  • Of creativity
  • Based on language
  • To solve problems

The study of cognitive processes and how they affect human behavior is the focus of cognitive psychology, which makes it a useful tool. Building designs that are simple to use, understandable and accessible, can assist UX designers in overcoming psychological hurdles.

These fundamental cognitive psychology guidelines must be followed by all UX designers.

According to the Hick-Hyman law or Hick’s law, the amount of options we have directly affects how long it takes us to decide. The decision-making process will logically take longer for users since there are more options available.

UX designers should be especially aware of Hick’s law. Visitors need to locate the relevant material quickly, whether they are trying to read a blog article, make an online purchase, or look for a company’s contact details. For this reason, specifically, you must keep a user’s attention, offer flawless internet experiences and prevent overload. A UX designer’s job is to synthesize the content of a website to make the user’s interaction clear, logical, and consistent.

Eliminate any extraneous design elements

Every person that visits a website has a certain objective as I indicated earlier. It would be challenging to understand and navigate through a busy website with plenty of material and too many design features.

Reduce the material on landing pages first. A user may become confused and stop reading a website if there is too much information on it. Above all, it might reduce conversion rates and obscure a page’s main selling feature. Ask a client about their priorities, and then modify the website’s content depending on their objectives. Focus on dividing things up into manageable parts rather than providing lengthy blocks of material.

Give every page a distinct purpose at all times. Make sure it has a specific objective, for instance, while developing a landing page for a customer. A user will become confused and unlikely to convert if there are several CTAs on a single page.

A lot of white space will also help consumers stay focused. Refrain from utilizing various font sizes, color palettes, high contrast colors, links, and other typographic elements. Infuriating auto-play movies should be avoided at all costs.

Navigate more easily

When a user opens a website page, the navigation bar is one of the most important website components and is almost always what they see. Keep it simple because of this. Instead of immediately presenting every page of a website, you should first organize it into broad categories and more detailed subcategories. Pay special attention to mobile user navigation on your website. No matter what device a searcher uses, make sure it is simple and obvious.

Make visual and progressive onboarding available

Never rely on the navigational or link-clicking skills of website visitors. You must assist them at this point. One of the finest strategies to convert visitors is to offer guided job completion. Simply said, you provide a set of instructions to encourage a visitor to engage with a website.

You should also visualize the user’s travels in addition to making the onboarding process more progressive. To make a website more understandable and usable, start by making distinctive icons.

The Gestalt Theory

Concept of Gestalt The brain arranges complex forms according to gestalt theory. The six gestalt principles may be employed in logo design to make sure that forms are utilized to their fullest extent and that the design’s intended message is communicated. In other words, designers will struggle to emotionally engage viewers if the overall form is confusing and disturbing. Let’s study the Gestalt principles while keeping in mind the concepts of perception discussed above. The concept of simplicity states that we always see the most basic version of a shape, even though that shape is made up of many distinct parts. The law of simplicity is essential but more difficult to explain than other Gestalt ideas.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned concepts concerning perception, let’s look at the Gestalt principles.


By the concept of simplicity, we see the most basic version of each object, even though it is made up of many other shapes. The law of simplicity, while essential, is not as easy to explain as other Gestalt ideas.


Refers to how near something is to another. The strongest proximity interactions are those between overlapping topics, even when grouping objects into a single area may have a strong proximity impact.


People naturally link similar things. Gestalt aesthetically organizes similar pieces regardless of how near together the parts are. They can be divided into groups according to size, form, or color.

Common fate

Which was previously excluded from the gestalt theory, is now included in it. In UX design, its utility cannot be neglected. People will group items that move similarly or point in the same direction, according to this concept. 


Regardless of how the lines were drawn, the human eye will always follow the path that is the least bumpy while inspecting lines, according to the rule of continuity. 


As I indicated at the beginning of this post, closure is one of the coolest gestalt concepts. It implies that your brain will fill in any blanks in a design or image to create the whole.

The Psychology of Influence

Keeps in mind that messages from related companies are frequently received by online customers in their email inboxes and social media news feeds. Customers want to know how you vary from your rivals while making selections about purchases. And this is precisely where understanding the psychology of persuasion may be useful.

Display Social Proof

Social proof is a cognitive psychology hypothesis that suggests individuals tend to hold ideas that are similar to their own. The use of social proof marketing in user experience design can take several forms:

  • Include the company logos that a client or employer worked with.
  • Promote user testimonials, feedback, and ratings on a website.
  • Display client reviews together with the person’s name and location.
  • Include current data. SaaS companies may, for instance, display the number of app downloads or page views they have experienced over the past month.
  • Display trust symbols like the “secure checkout” symbol, the “accepted payment” symbol, the “money-back guarantee” symbol, the “free delivery” symbol, etc.

Incite FOMO 

Brands may increase conversion rates by using the psychological phenomenon known as fear of missing out (FOMO). According to research, 60 percent of Millennials make hasty purchases just out of FOMO. Products that are unique or only offered for a short period tend to be valued higher by consumers.

By including countdown clocks for clients’ landing pages or online product pages, UX designers might, for instance, assist clients in emphasizing product scarcity. Another excellent choice is to design original exit-intent popups. In particular, offering visitors a fantastic one-time chance to save up is a terrific method to promote impulsive purchases. Lastly, you may make sure that the website indicates how many items are currently in stock.

The Verbatim Effect

Customers are more inclined to pay attention to the whole user experience than any one aspect of a website or app. Therefore, every UX designer is aware that the goal should be to create a good experience throughout the whole design process. If you’ve ever been curious about why this is the case, it has to do with a concept in cognitive psychology called the verbatim effect. In other words, individuals tend to forget the specifics of each contact and just recall the overall impression they received of it due to the verbatim effect. What Effect Does the Verbatim Effect Have on UX Design? Although there are many ways the verbatim effect may be employed in the UX design process, it is most frequently used for navigation and organization.

The Schema Theory 

According to this cognitive psychology hypothesis, the human brain categorizes all of its information into discrete knowledge units. These schemata serve as storage for experiences, memories, and ideas (units). These knowledge units are formed early in life, and as we become older, more information is added to them. Why is this crucial for UX designers? In essence, this means that humans want knowledge to be presented in bite-sized pieces. A competent designer should try to categorize the content whenever it is feasible since categorization is an important stage in the UX design process. We want our consumers to comprehend the information fast and easily since usability is one of the most significant UX design elements.

The Chameleon Effect 

People frequently copy one another’s conduct, according to the final idea we’ll cover in this essay. Due to our ingrained need to fit in, there is yet another evolutionary bias that occurs unintentionally. This cognitive bias may be the most helpful when persuading your users to take an action out of all the ones we’ve covered today. A UX designer may apply the chameleon effect in a variety of ways.

For instance, learning-oriented applications may employ a leaderboard system to display how you rank among your friends. This motivates you to continue learning how to use this pastime to stay in touch with your pals while also reawakening your desire to compete.


You should keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to integrating cognitive psychology rules into UX design. These are only a few of the many guidelines that may assist you in comprehending the actions, thoughts, and expectations of online users as well as how they interact with websites. The only way to design a genuinely user-centric website that engages, converts, and keeps consumers is by following this method. Cognitive psychology refers to the mental effort it takes to develop and learn new information. UX design optimizes content and user interfaces based on cognitive load limits to produce user experiences that can be absorbed and processed quickly.