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April 10, 2023

The psychological phenomena of UX Design

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Posted by:
Sravani Kammara

If you want to design products that attract, engage, and retain customers, you need to understand the psychology behind user behavior. In this blog, we'll explore how the principles of psychology can be applied to UX design to create user experiences that are intuitive, satisfying, and memorable. Let’s understand UX design first,

What is UX Design?

User experience design is the process of creating products that are easy to use, effective, and enjoyable to interact with. Good UX design ensures that users can achieve their goals quickly and with minimal effort.

Everything we do and everything we experience are all connected dots that we can apply to the designs to give a good experience to the user. UX design services are tailored to cater to the ever-changing needs of businesses in today's fast-paced digital environment.

Understanding User Behavior

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs

Users are more likely to use products that are easy to understand and accomplish their goals. Designers can improve the usability of their products by understanding what motivates user behavior and designing products that align with those motivations.

Ethical Considerations in Using Psychology in UX Design

Designers have a responsibility to use psychology ethically. By using persuasive tactics to influence user behavior, designers can inadvertently manipulate users into making decisions that are not in their best interest. To avoid unethical design practices, designers must be transparent about their design intentions, respect users' privacy, and ensure that design decisions align with users' needs and values.

By understanding the principles of psychology, we can design products that are intuitive, engaging, and effective. In this blog, we'll explore the key principles of psychology in UX design to create a great user experience

1. The Principle of Least Effort

2. The Principle of Perpetual Habit

3. The Principle of Socialization

4. The Principle of Emotional Contagion

5. The Principle of Identity

6. The Principle of Beauty

7. The Principle of Mistake

1. The Principle of Least Effort

People are looking for ways to complete tasks with the least possible effort, The simplest algorithm is always the most attractive one right? For instance, You have a nice concrete and other is not paved which will get you the same destination. Which road will you choose? You will choose the shortest path which will get you to your destination in a short time.

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How can we address this principle?

  • - When you are explaining something to your client, show some examples. It will give your client a better understanding and experience too.
  • - Use language that is easy and natural for your audience. Avoid using overly technical or complex language simply because you are familiar with it.
  • - Do not clutter up space with unnecessary details or words.
  • - Make sure that the users understand well what they can or cannot click. Buttons and in-text links should look like buttons and in-text links.
  • - The opportunity to use a decorative font may seem very attractive but make sure that the font is legible.

2. Principle of perpetual habit

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The principle of perpetual habit is the idea that people are more likely to continue doing something if they have already invested time and effort into it. In UX design, we can use this principle to create products that encourage users to form habits around using our products. Additionally, designing for perpetual habit can help build long-term engagement with users, as they are more likely to continue using the product if they have already formed a habit around it. How can we address this principle?

  • - Do not grow too desperate in your effort to make the website stand out.
  • - Keep things traditional where they should be.
  • - Keep the website layout and navigation simple so the user can learn to go around your website in one or two sessions.
  • - Don’t go for too complicated a design, It’s may get hard for the users.

Gmail is one of the most used applications, and the user interface of this website is structurally penetrated in our minds. Have you ever thought what if the compose button moved to somewhere corner of the screen, what if the menu bar is moved into an icon? What will happen? That will lead to confusion and anger at the same time.

3. Principle of socialization

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Socialization is an important aspect of UX design, as it helps users feel connected to others and fosters a sense of community. By designing for socialization, we can create products that encourage users to interact with one another and share their experiences. This can be achieved through the use of social features, such as messaging, commenting, and sharing, as well as through user-generated content and collaborative activities. Additionally, designing for socialization can help build trust and credibility with users, as it signals that the product is designed with their social needs in mind.

How can we address this principle?

  • - You absolutely must implement buttons for social media. Here, users can access your accounts on different social media platforms. This is beneficial for both you and your users. This way, if a user enjoys some of your statements or posts, they can share them with their friends. They feel happy sharing something worth reading with their community
  • - Implement product ratings and app reviews. This way the user will get trust you and will come to your application again and again.
  • - Implement client testimonials for the users to see that the product or service you provide is loved by other people. Your potential users will follow the example of your satisfied customers and take the action you want them to take.

4. The Principle of Emotional Contagion

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Emotional contagion is the idea that emotions can be transferred from one person to another, and it has important implications for UX design. By designing for emotional contagion, we can create products that inspire positive emotions in users, such as joy, excitement, and satisfaction. This can be achieved through the use of engaging visuals, intuitive interactions, and personalized messaging. Additionally, designing for emotional contagion can help build a sense of community among users, as they share in the emotional experiences of using the product.

How can we address this principle?

  • - Target one’s emotional self by showing them emotional pictures or telling them emotional stories.
  • - For instance, StoryTerrace features the stories of their customers, but they are not just about how successful their experience was but about how happy and joyful, and emotionally important it turned out to be.
  • - To build lasting engagement with your users, it's important to create an experience that they want to come back to.
  • - For example Interface addiction, When you are watching reels on Instagram you will get emotional when the sad reels are played, and you will laugh when funny reels are played right? That is how the interface is sticking the user to their application.

5. The Principle of Identity

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Identity is a key aspect of UX design, as it helps users connect with a product and understand its purpose. By designing for identity, we can create products that are memorable, distinctive, and reflective of their brand. This can be achieved through the consistent use of visual elements, such as color, typography, and imagery, as well as through the tone and voice of the product's messaging. Additionally, designing for identity can help build trust and credibility with users, as it signals that the product is authentic and reliable.

Another example is People like associating themselves with brands because it gives them a sense of identity. “I prefer products from Google, so only Google Pixel and Google Home for me”. “I prefer coffee from Starbucks, so no Dunkin Donuts”. “I wear only Nikes”. This behavior is driven by a desire for a unique and exclusive experience, which can be an important consideration in digital product design.

How can we address this principle?

  • - Develop your company brand. Use unique colors, logos, messages, and slogans to underscore the uniqueness of your brand.
  • - Use photos to show the actual people behind your service or product.
  • - Show that you care about your users. At each stage of user experience, provide your users with feedback.
  • - Do not forget to ask for feedback from your users. Create a form, which asks “How would you rate your experience with our website? How can we improve it?”.

6. The Principle of Beauty

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Numerous psychological studies prove that beautiful things are always more loved and popular than unattractive ones. People choose books by their covers. For instance, Given the opportunity to choose people, beautiful places to travel to, beautiful houses to live in, and nice clothes to wear. Few people can stay away from pursuing beauty.

The concept of beauty itself is associated with the words expensive, successful, and high quality. For instance, a Beautiful car-Expensive, Beautiful dress- Expensive, and a Beautiful interior- Expensive. Designing for beauty means creating products that are not only visually appealing, but also intuitive, engaging, and functional.

How can we address this principle?

  • - Create a design system, and follow it closely. Do not mix fonts, colors, button styles, navigation elements, or icons, and stick to the style guide.
  • - Keep an eye on market trends.
  • - Make sure that your design is relevant and topical, and that it meets the expectations of a modern-day user.

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For example, the old dashboards compared to new dashboards are having confusing interfaces, When you see modern dashboards are very precise and well-structured user interfaces they won't lead to confusion. That is how the principle of beauty is working in design. The beauty is in your structured designs, not in fancy designs.

7. The Principle of Mistakes

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In UX design, mistakes can happen frequently, but they can also be opportunities for growth and improvement. By designing for mistakes, we can create products that are more forgiving and user-friendly. For example, providing clear error messages and allowing users to undo actions can help minimize the impact of mistakes. Additionally, making it easy for users to recover from errors can help build trust and confidence in the product.

We make mistakes to learn lessons, So what are the mistakes in UX design?

For example, Unclear designs, inconsistencies in the design system, and potentially misleading information. As a result, users may struggle to understand how to navigate the product or achieve their goals.

How can we address this principle?

  • - Check the flow before testing.
  • - Implement double-confirmation messages like“Are you sure you want to proceed?” or email verification.
  • - Do not neglect the “Cancel” button. The ability to cancel recent actions provides users with the feeling of being in control of their app.
  • - If a mistake happens, let users know about it.
  • - Give instructions or information to the user.


As a UX designer, you will be concerned about user experience, to create effective and user-friendly interfaces, you have to learn more about the psychological phenomena in UX design and the principles will help you to get a better understanding of the user. This is why you have to know your users, their human nature, their inclinations, weaknesses, strong points, and fears. Anyone can create user interfaces according to their client regardless of the user but, you will be the one who can create safe, effective, and user-centered designs by knowing and implementing these principles in your designs. Appiness, a well-known ux design company based in Bangalore, offers UX design services that align with the latest technology trends and upcoming advancements.

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