Psychology principles for better UX design
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Psychology is integrated into every step of the UX design process. To really do your job as a UX designer, you need to understand a few key principles related to how people think and how they behave. This will help you design products and experiences that work better for your end users. Let us go through some psychology principles for better UX design


Show users value

People are skeptical about putting out effort, time or money. You are probably already familiar with the cost-benefit principle, which means that people weigh the potential value they get from something against what it will cost them. As a UX designer, it is your job to outweigh the benefit over the cost. To achieve that, you can use the psychological concept called reciprocation. This means that people will trust you and be happier to put out effort if you first do something for them. Your goal should always be to demonstrate the value of the product or feature before requiring users to do anything.


Guide your users 

People can only use so much brain power at once. We have a limited cognitive load. As a UX designer, you can reduce users’ stress by taking this limited cognitive load into account. This means breaking up detailed information into bite sized chunks and giving it only when it is necessary. UX design relies heavily on a set of psychological principles called Gestalt principles to guide users through pages and screens more easily. Get to know these principles and use them to guide your users


Do not make users work

When people have to think or put in too much effort, they get tired and grumpy. In UX design, anything that requires users to think or work is called an interaction cost. Ego depletion is a phenomenon where people evaluate information more poorly, have less self control and just perform worse in many ways after having to expend mental or physical energy. Your job as a UX designer is to reduce interaction costs


Keep it familiar 

The amount of change people can handle is pretty small. We learn from past experiences and we expect new products to work similarly to products we have used before. The mere exposure effect tells us we also find familiar words, environments, ideas and patterns comforting. Familiar interfaces are better for both usability and satisfaction


Do not ask your users to do your job

People are very bad at affective forecasting or predicting what they will like in the future. It might sound like a good idea to ask users directly what they want from your product but it often is not. Observe your users rather than listening to their preferences. This can help you identify the problems they may be having and brainstorm solutions. Alternatively, you can create a prototype. Opinions about a specific iteration of your idea will be much more reliable than users’ initial reactions to your idea in the abstract.


Study UX design at PFH

We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog post on psychology principles for better UX design. If you are thinking about studying abroad and pursuing a career in UX design, take a look at our Master’s degree in User Experience Management & Design.


We have designed this program to help you apply the skills you have acquired with your first university degree in the fields of management, psychology and computer science. Additionally, you will acquire new and interdisciplinary competencies from the fields of psychology, business informatics and business administration, which are necessary later in the field of digital product and service development.



At PFH we make sure you receive a high-quality education while making the most out of your study abroad experience!