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The Laws of UX Design- When UI/UX Design Meets Psychology

Regardless of your level of experience with user experience design or product marketing, you must be familiar with the fundamental UX laws.

These UX principles serve as a design manual for products and provide insight into the psychology of user expectations. Therefore, anyone hoping to produce winning ideas must adhere to them.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the UX laws that product designer Jon Yablonski first collected in his book and online resource Laws of UX. The laws are foundational to the user experience field, and they provide a framework for how users think and behave. Once you understand these laws, you’ll be able to create better products that meet your users’ needs.

Jakob’s Law

Jakob’s Law is a principle of user experience design that states that users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

Fitts’s Law

According to Fitts’ law, the time required to rapidly move to a target increases as the distance to that target increases. For example, if you are standing in front of a dartboard and want to throw a dart at it, you’ll find that it is easier when you are further away from the board (because your hand doesn’t have to travel as far).

If you were closer however, then because your hand has further travel distance from where it started off (your arm) before hitting its target (the dartboard), it might feel more difficult. The same concept applies when designing user interfaces: users will have an easier time interacting with an interface if they can click on something that takes up most of their screen real estate versus something small like a button or link.

Hick’s Law

Hick’s law is a model of human decision-making that describes the relationship between the number of choices and the time it takes to make a choice. It was formulated by William Edmund Hick in 1953.

The law states: “As the number of alternatives increases, so does the time taken for an individual to choose a single alternative.” In other words, when there are more options available, decision-making becomes more difficult and therefore slower.

Miller’s Law

Miller’s Law is a very useful tool for UI/UX designers. It states that the average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory.

In 1956, George Miller asserted that the span of immediate memory and absolute judgment were both limited to around 7 pieces of information. The main unit of information is the bit, the amount of data necessary to make a choice between two equally likely alternatives.

Parkinson’s Law

Any task will inflate until all of the available time is spent. That means limiting the time it takes to complete a task to what users expect it’ll take. Features such as autofill save the user time when providing critical information within forms. This allows for quick completion of purchases, bookings, and other such functions while preventing task inflation.

Aesthetic-Usability Effect

Users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable. An aesthetically pleasing design creates a positive response in people’s brains and leads them to believe the design actually works better.

So the next time you will design a website, be sure of the elements, colors, and images that you’re using will be aesthetically pleasing for users at the same time aligns with the branding of a business.

Goal-Gradient Effect

The tendency to approach a goal increases with proximity to the goal. An example of this is when users are signing up for a service and there is a step-by-step goal to complete their account. Providing artificial progress towards a goal will help to ensure users are more likely to have the motivation to complete that task.

The Law of Similarity

The human eye tends to perceive similar elements in a design as a complete picture, shape, or group, even if those elements are separated. Gestalt psychologists argued that these principles exist because the mind has an innate disposition to perceive patterns in the stimulus based on certain rules. These principles are organized into five categories: Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure, and Connectedness.

In creating a web design, Ensure that links and navigation systems are visually differentiated from normal text elements.

Law of Proximity

Objects that are near, or proximate to each other, tend to be grouped together. Proximity helps users understand and organize information faster and more efficiently.

Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is a theory that states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is also known as the 80/20 rule.

Focus the majority of the effort on the areas that will bring the largest benefits to the most users.


The above principles are only a small sample of the many laws and theories that can be applied to web design. It’s important to remember that they are not hard rules, but guidelines. You should always think about how each one will affect your users and whether it will make their experience easier or more difficult.


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