Psychology and Neuroscience Behind UX

February 25, 2021

Psychological Science in Design

According to the research, the human brain consumes 25% of the body's oxygen, although it only makes up 2% of its mass.

The brain is generally lazy as a survival mechanism - Which means the brain tends to take shortcuts to spend less energy. So the brain identifies and labels things and ignores repetitive situations.

The brain's patterns and lazy decision-making can make it easier to survive, but make UX design more difficult. So how can we go about this?In this regard, the neuroscience technique has helped shed light on what encourages "quick thinking" in UX research recently.

Design Psychology: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow

There are many studies and books on the subject that most of the things that drive human behaviour are subconscious. Within milliseconds of a person encountering a new app or website, millions of neurons fire up and the brain makes hundreds of subconscious decisions.

Am I in the "right" place or should I trust the site? Is the website more reliable or does mobile subconscious play an important role in these decisions? Especially on shopping sites, the rate of shopping is higher than desktop usage compared to mobile.

Principal UX Researcher, Javier Bargas-Avila has determined in a study that people begin to generate aesthetic responses within the first 17 to 50 milliseconds after exposure to a web page.

To put this into perspective, it takes 300-400 milliseconds for the eye to blink. This means that your product may stay on your website or mobile or leave sooner due to judgement and judgement in the blink of an eye.

These impressions may not be recorded, but they affect behaviour. For example, if a site loads slowly or doesn't open in the time the user wants, the user may leave quickly instead of waiting for the site to load. This means that your website should run faster and you have to do something about user attitudes. Users do not only want to stay on the site they like but also want it to be available. This means that sometimes a button you put does not appear as a call the action, or you force it to stay on the page where the user needs to log out, making it feel compressed for the user and leaving your page.

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's book **Thinking, Fast and Slow** divides this situation into two systems to illustrate the difference in human thinking and decision-making;

System 1: fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypical, subconscious. System 1 thinking is reactive – responsible for complex but instinctive cognition, such as determining the distance between objects or determining emotional responses. Your lazy brain usually defaults to System 1 thinking. These are the decisions you make with your basic instincts.System 2: Slow, effortful, logical, calculating, deliberate, infrequent.

System 2 thinking is analytical and applies to more complex scenarios, such as determining appropriate social behaviour or comparing two products with different prices and features.

Because the brain does not want to reprocess information or make new decisions every time it encounters a new scenario, much of human decision-making falls into System 1, or "quick thinking."

When making quick decisions, the brain may rely heavily on schemas or mental models, i.e. familiar patterns of information and interaction. System 2 never comes into play when System 1 thinking comes into play. People may not be aware of their brain's decision-making process, but this is known to strongly influence their behaviour and perception of the product.

Design Psychology Tip #1: Make Identification Easier

Everyone comes to a website or app with an expectation of how it should look. Staying close to this expectation helps designers take advantage of instant, subliminal decision-making.

The person who opened your app or website might want to know;

a) is this what I am looking for;

b) is this high quality?

Keeping designs simple and keeping the brand, services, and products front and center helps people orient themselves.

Putting some information in the center means preventing other information from leaving it out. Changing a design is just as important as rearranging components.

You'll notice a move towards simpler, less crowded interfaces among tech companies. These minimalist designs outperform more complex designs at task completion, and visual clarity has been shown to influence online and offline purchasing decisions.

You may have noticed that Apple's website takes a minimal and uncomplicated approach to this issue.

It has been scientifically proven that visually simple and clean designs perform better. The lazy brain can instantly grasp the purpose of the site and understand what to do.

Design Psychology Tip #2: Specify What Will Happen

Preparing someone for some upcoming information or interaction can improve the user's ability to understand and react to new information. You can instruct the user to expect interface elements, such as certain interactions or timing. For example, when a page is opened, instead of just a loop, if you show that it is loaded with numerical data, the user will not leave your page and wait. However, if this process is prolonged, the user will leave the page.

For example, to give another example of this situation, your stay on each page is called a session. If you are being redirected to another page during this process, you will see a warning when leaving this page. This alert uses an additional screen to ask if you want to go to another site. In this case, your session will open in a new tab and you will be redirected to another page or site. Although it is a simple action for the user, in terms of UX, it is informing the user about the action to be taken. This helps signal that the user expects a new design and information architecture.

The thing to consider here is whether you have directed the user to the right place. If the information you do not want to convey is insufficient or not what the user expects, it can still affect decision-making.For example, even if your company visually uses female images in online shopping or mobile apps, someone might mistakenly assume that you only serve female customers.

Design Psychology Tip #3: Organise for Lazy Readers

Eye tracking studies can follow a person's gaze interacting with a product. They can produce heat maps that show the length of time spent focusing on a part of the screen, or maps that show how the eye bounces on the page.

We know that across sectors and application types, the brain often scans information in an F-model (or E-model). The person looks at the full information, reads the right side, and then scans down the page for relevant information or icons.

Breaking the F-pattern, for example putting important information in the lower right corner, will make it harder to find.

Reduce Your Text

According to Nielsen Norman's research on 45,237 page-views, people only read 20% of the text on a page. In this case, some websites may prefer more readable and larger fonts. Worse still, on sites with more content, people only took an extra 4 seconds for every additional 100 words of text.

In a world where people don't read verbatim, Nielsen Norman uses the following guidelines for scannable text;

- Highlighted keywords

- Meaningful subtitles

- Bulleted lists

- One idea per paragraph-Inverted pyramid style

- Start with the result-Half (or less) of traditional writing

If all this information is used and necessary arrangements are made, your website or mobile screens may be preferred more. In this process, we can support you in designing your site in a more optimised way with designs for user psychology.

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