It is easy to think of good design as something that is subtle and unique for everybody.
This is quite true; but while people prefer their favourite colours, themes and fonts, we should also be aware that general human behaviour applies to many people in the same way.
There is a good reason people love the logo of eponymous brands like Nike or Starbucks. These companies have whole departments dedicated to making their brands acceptable to the public. Following years of research and studying the effect of design on consumer behaviour, scientists have come up with various concepts that influence users positively.
In this post, we shall be discussing these “laws” and how you can apply them to your website (or any online design) for favourable outcomes.
1. Hick’s Law
If you were asked to select just one piece of candy, which would be easier, a bowl containing just Snickers and Mars, or one containing Snickers, Mars, Hershey’s, Bounty and ten other types of chocolate candy? My guess would be the bowl containing just two brands.
According to Hick’s Law, reducing the number of options for anybody makes it easier for them to decide. In other words, the fewer the choices, the faster the selection. In application, good designers try to limit a consumer’s options when presenting items for them to choose. If you run an Ecommerce website, you should record higher conversion rates with this technique.
2. The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is more photography than design, but they are applicable in the same regard. It is one of the most basic guidelines for composition in photography and design. It leverages the natural tendency for the human eye to be attracted to certain parts of an image.
In the rule of thirds, you divide your image into an imaginary board of nine equal squares. The four intersection points of these lines are the sharpest focal points, while the lines themselves are the second sharpest focal points. Your image should always lie somewhere alone these planes.
3. The Law of Similarity
When the human brain is presented with several options, it will start sorting them in order of similarity. For instance, rounded objects, smooth items, same colours and so on. These similar objects become a group which we can easily process.
When presenting design images on your site or products in an ad, consider grouping them in order of similarity to help your customers process them easily and take quick decisions. You will record faster conversion rates this way.
4. The Law of Experience
Although experience is not something you can directly relate to design, it does have its significance in the way we handle things. In web design, there are many uses of this concept that make user experience simpler and more efficient. For instance, the hamburger menu (3 horizontal bars) is an indication of the main navigation menu.
Another application of experience is the use of skeuomorphism in design. This is the borrowing of real world concepts to use in design. A good example is the iPad’s calendar or bookshelf which appears to be just like their real-world counterparts.
Applying one or more of these concepts in your web design can produce positive results in web performance. You can begin with the easiest; Hick’s Law.