Top 7 UX Laws That Call For A Second Thought

No matter how amazing your graphics and contents are, your website will fail to fetch and retain visitors if you blow up the UX design. In other words, seamless UX is the key to pulling in traffic and making them fall in love with your site. To make the job easier for designers, there are some universal UX laws that help to provide a basic standard framework for successful UX design. However, sometimes, these laws aren’t interpreted exactly how they are or what ideally these guidelines are meant to convey.
Problem is, these UX laws have been passed down and analyzed by many developers after they were originally formulated by psychologists and scientists. Much like the game of Japanese whisper, over-filtration has led to twisted interpretations in several cases. The post below sheds light on 7 such laws that need to be re-explained.

Miller’s Law

Millet’s Law states the proposition that the average human brain can hold up to just 5-9 items in working memory. Based on this law, some UX designers limit the display list (on online stores) to the specified range, fearing choice paralysis. 
But, this is not the actual truth.
Multiple studies have reported that our working memory can accommodate 9+ items at a time- and that too of varying types. So, you would be limiting the appeal of your site to a great extent if you limit your on-page displays to less than 9.
Miller’s Law, however, is applicable to typical UI elements, say carousels. But still, if you check Instagram carousels, they allow up to 10 slides.

Jakob’s Law

The law has been named in commemoration of Jakob Nielsen, a legendary UX researcher.

According to this law, users tend to prefer familiar-looking and functioning sites. Put simply, they want new sites to work and look the same way they are used to with other sites. 
Now, this law is partly true; users do feel comfortable with a familiar-looking and working website.  But, that doesn’t explain the whole story. In fact, it has been noted later that this interpretation of Jakob’s Law restricts experimentation and exploration of new scenarios- rather it mostly stresses on repetition of the same old patterns to enforce good UX.
The truth is, users are not always inclined to experience familiar patterns- rather they can be open to new ideas and profiles. Multiple studies have proven that new experiences do wonders to enhance memory as well as improve mood. 
Ask yourself- Do you desire to launch a memorable website that would be able to create a phenomenal impression? Well, then, if you are planning to introduce some new changes to the old order- and if you are confident about them- don’t shy away and just go for it.

Goal Gradient Hypothesis

According to Goal Gradient Hypothesis, if a user (read website visitor) appears closer to his/her intended goal while browsing online, s/he would probably complete the task. Take the example of a potential shopper jotting a list on a shopping card. So, as per this rule, if a prospective shopper is proactively spending a good amount of time on a product page and also sends the product in a shopping cart- odds are, s/he would purchase it.
Is it?
Well, stats have a different story to tell. As per the sources, the rate of abandonment of shopping is a whopping 74% in the U.S.A. Bottom line is, this rule offers a probability for sure but cannot be banked upon always. 
There could be multiple reasons behind abandoning shopping carts. They might not like your delivery charges or they found a better alternative, and so on. 
You can follow the said rule- but don’t lose heart if the rule doesn’t work in every case. Rather, you can focus more attention on potential shopper behaviour and try out retargeting with some other strategies, say reduced rates.

Aesthetic-usability effect

The rule of the Aesthetic-Usability Effect is developed based on the notion that users believe that aesthetically charming designs are more functional.
Now, of course, we all love  “beauty” and it’s natural to have that desire to spend time with beautiful things. But, is it for sure that all beautiful-looking websites are highly useful as well? Swell, you know the answer for sure. Some of them might but there is no guarantee that if just a website looks good, it is able to perform fine as well. 
Problem is, some designers focus so much on this particular rule that they concentrate their maximum energy on enhancing the beauty of a site. Thus, you will see all those ultra-cool features like slick animations, grey-on-grey text, and so on.
No matter how lovely and dashing a site looks, if it cannot provide usability, it can’t retain users. So, focus on styling the site as much as you like but make sure the beautification is not making you compromise on the functionality of the website.


This particular law presents a rational proposition but carries loopholes too. 
As per this rule, users have a tendency to judge their experience across a website on the basis of their experience at the end and the peak.  Designers who follow this rule mostly focus on design resources when a user adds a product to a shopping cart as well as when s/he pays for that product at checkout. Peak-End-Rule doesn’t take into account the overall average experience of the users across the site. And, this is where it creates the blunder.
Well, okay, we won’t get too harsh on this law. 
It’s better to put it this way- the Peak-End-Rule sounds valid but is unable to work for open experiences such as websites. It’s because you never know every individual user’s starting as well as ending point when it comes to a website.
On the other hand, it would be more convenient to perceive every individual interaction on websites as a “peak”. In fact, it would be even more convenient to concur which peak would be most crucial. 
Bottom line is, to honour the Peak-End-Rule while you design for peaks. But, also make sure to keep room for exceptions.

Fitts’ Law

The renowned psychologist Paul Fitts famously proposed that the size of as well as the distance to the chosen target might create errors during the selection of the target. For example, it might be a tough nut to tap on a little button but the task becomes even harder when the tab is far away.
The law itself isn’t a problem – rather it’s the application of the law in the wrong place that creates the whole blunder.
UX designers have a tendency to integrate this law while creating mobile breakpoints given their small viewport. Now, the mobile device is always at the palm’s length for users. Given the close proximity between the user and the device, even little buttons on the mobile dashboard aren’t hard to notice. Thus, their placement doesn’t really affect the user’s tap accuracy.
On the other hand, the same law would be mostly compatible with desktop breakpoints. In this case, distance on your desktop monitor might create difficulties for tap accuracy. But then again, most desktops come with a mouse. Usage of the mouse fixes positional issues before the user reaches to tapping.
It’s true that ideal tappable objects must be big enough to facilitate convenient selection for users. Designers must maintain sufficient spacing and should be careful to enable tab selection.  However, “distance”, as the law had stated, barely has a strong impact on website design.

Occam’s Razor

One of the most fundamental UX laws, Occam’s Razor is also one among those laws that are usually misinterpreted. 
Technically speaking, this law proposes that the option that begets the minimal level of assumption is the right choice.
But, UX designers work in an industry where they have several options to measure, test, or analyze the user interfaces and dashboards. In view of that, do you really think they need to wait for assumptions? It’s a rhetorical question and you already know the answer. The answer is a plain “No”.
In fact, the situations that don’t call for in-depth UX testing, UX designers can land up with informed decisions on the basis of findings reported by other designers.
Put simply, Occam’s Razor could double up as a classic trap for designers. But, you can avoid it if you are a little careful. Keep in mind that your assumptions don’t matter- you have to gauge and take decisions based on possible assumptions of potential users.

Well, a good lot for the misinterpreted laws. Let’s wind up with a few top UX design tips for 2022 –

  • Try to stay minimal and neat- but don’t make things dull and drab
  • Horizontal scrolling is mostly preferred- But use vertical scrolling where you are going for a vertical screen
  • Maintain 44px width and 44px height for buttons
  • Try to keep common icons familiar
  • Optimize the site for all devices

Finally, never launch without testing. It will be a whole lot of unnecessary extra work if you have to make amendments after the site is launched. Also, always make sure to take feedback during the 2022 testing and make sure to incorporate constructive corrections before the final launch.

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