Designing Products with Impact: A Practical Guide to 10 Key Laws and Principles
Reading time: 4min
As a product builder, having knowledge of effective design shortcuts can be your biggest asset. It's important to focus on practical, proven principles that can be applied directly to your work. In this article, we'll provide you with ten essential psychological and design laws that cut through the noise. These laws aren't just academic concepts but are practical tools that have been proven to work in the real world. From Fitts’ Law, which ensures your app's buttons are in the right spot, to the Law of Neural Adaptation, which helps keep your content fresh and engaging, these principles are your toolkit for creating products that people love to use. So, let's dive in and explore how these laws can make your product more innovative, intuitive, and user-friendly.
- Fitts’ Law: This law states that the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target. I optimize interface layouts by placing buttons and interactive elements within easy reach and ensuring they are appropriately sized.
- Law of Neural Adaptation: We tune out repetitive stimuli over time. Product design refreshes content and features periodically to sustain user interest.
- Hick's Law: The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. I reduce choice overload in interfaces to streamline navigation and enhance user experience.
- Weber's Law: The just-noticeable difference between two stimuli is proportional to the magnitude of the stimuli. I ensure that interface changes are perceptible without being too jarring.
- Gall's Law: All complex systems evolve from simpler versions that work. I advocate for starting with a minimal viable product and building complexity incrementally.
- Miller's Law: It states that the average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory. For UX, this implies designing interfaces with manageable chunks of information or actions at a time.
- Jakob's Law: Users spend most of their time on other sites, meaning they prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Consistency in design patterns and conventions is key.
- Law of Prägnanz (Good Figure or Simplicity Law): People will perceive and interpret ambiguous or complex images as the simplest form(s) possible. This law emphasizes the importance of simplicity and clarity in design.
- Peak-End Rule: People judge an experience based mainly on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and at its end rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience. This influences how you design critical interactions or the conclusion of user journeys.
- Law of Proximity: Objects near or proximate to each other tend to be grouped. This principle is essential in organizing information and design elements effectively.
We have discussed ten crucial laws that can significantly impact your product design. It's important to remember that in a small company, every decision counts, and implementing these principles can give you a competitive advantage. Use what we have discussed as your practical guide to streamline choices, make your interfaces intuitive, and keep your users engaged. The key is to make intelligent and informed design choices that resonate with your users and differentiate your product in a crowded market. Keep these laws in mind as you design and iterate. They're not just theories but your blueprint for building products that function well and deliver a great user experience.