Harnessing the Laws of UX for Design Success

Harnessing the Laws of UX for Design Success

Have you ever considered the hidden psychology behind creating compelling digital products and services?

Paul Bird
0 min read
March 7, 2024

Welcome to the world of "The Laws of UX" – a set of principles that isn't a rigid rulebook but rather a compass guiding you towards an enhanced customer experience.

Think of these laws like the Pirates Code of Conduct - more like friendly guidelines than strict rules.

This article, and others to follow, aim to introduce you to the 10 laws of UX design and how they can improve the way we build digital products and services.

Let's kick things off with Jakob’s Law:

Jakob’s Law: Making Familiarity Work for You

Named after Jakob Nielsen, a User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group, Jakob’s Law highlights that users prefer designs mirroring their past experiences. While innovation is crucial, users may take time to adapt to something entirely new.

Incorporating familiar design patterns across your apps or services can boost customer engagement and loyalty. Meeting expectations without introducing a steep learning curve can keep users hooked.

For instance, when designing a customer portal website the common patterns are:

  • Place the logo on the top left for easy identification
  • Position account/login details on the top right
  • Use horizontal or left-hand side navigation for seamless page switching

Breaking the Law: What Happens

Users build habits and expect consistency. Disturbing this behavioural pattern, like Elon Musk's Twitter rebranding to "X," can drive users away. Altering designs significantly from the norm can result in a negative user experience.

People seek convenience, speed, and assurance. Too much design alteration can lead to frustration.

How to Apply Jakob's Law: Tips and Tricks

Applying Jacob’s Law to your digital product or service involves doing research and making design decisions that align with your users existing behaviours and expectations. 

Consider looking at the following:

  • Ensure a consistent design language, including colour schemes, labelling and typography.
  • Stick to interaction patterns users are familiar with.
  • Stay updated on design trends and user expectations.
  • Communicate with your customers to identify issues in their current experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Users will transfer expectations they have built around one familiar product to another that appears similar.
  • By leveraging existing mental models, we can create superior user experiences in which the users can focus on their tasks rather than on learning new models.
  • When making changes, minimise discord by empowering users to continue using a familiar version for a limited time.

In a Nutshell

Jakob’s Law serves as a guide to providing an intuitive and user-friendly experience without mandating a uniform look and feel. Collaborating with an expert or agency can help explore creative ways to utilise Jakob’s Law, designing a unique experience that resonates with your brand and users. Talk to us today, if you want to Harness Jakob's Law for Design Success.


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