UX Laws to help build better products

Ami Moradia
5 min readApr 12, 2023

1. Fitt’s Law

It is based on the work of psychologist Paul Fitts in 1954, which determines “‘The time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target”.

In simpler words, touch targets should be easily accessible, clear, large enough, and also have proper space between them.

How to use Fitt’s law in UI designing?

The size of a target and its distance from the user’s current position within the interface will affect user experience.

  • While designing a button or any other interactive element to complete an action, make them bigger so it’s easier to select. As buttons decrease in size and have a smaller surface area, they will require a precision level that might increase the error rate.
  • If it is known that certain set features could be used together, placing them together allows them to be easily acquired and minimizes overall task time
Fitt’s Law — Example

2. Hick’s Law

It states that “The time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of options increases

In simpler words, The more complex the permutation of choices an experience offers, the user may take a long time to respond and get distracted in the process. The experience should never overwhelm the user with complex choices. It is always better to reduce the complexity and the number of choices.

How to use Hick’s law in UI designing?

Giving choices to users seems good, but when the response time is critical, good, but. This would help users make quicker decisions and reduce the drop rate for the experience.

  • If the requirement is to have menus housing quick links to offerings in the product, and there are numerous offerings, users could quickly get overwhelmed. To mitigate this, menu items are grouped into high-level categories.
  • Breaking down long or complex processes into sections with fewer options will also help to reduce the complexity.
Hick’s Law — Example

3. Miller’s Law

It states that “The average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory”

The human mind can remember around 7 bits of information when completing a task that requires cognitive effort. Organizing the content in smaller chunks will help the users to understand, process, and memorize. If there are too many things users have to remember, it could cause frustration, and users will be unable to decide. It is almost similar to Hick’s Law.

How to use Miller’s law in UI designing?

The users’ short-term memory capabilities are limited. Therefore it would be good for designers to limit the amount of information for their users.

  • The application of chunking the content helps the users to remember more information. Chunking refers to breaking the content into understandable and clear pieces of information instead of presenting one large chunk.
  • Having more than seven elements in the navigation menu is inefficient and might confuse the users.
Miller’s Law — Example

4. Jakob’s Law

It states that “The best way to create something new is to look for references so that the first clients understand what it is about and can make associations

The law recommends the use of familiar design patterns, to facilitate a better user experience.

It means that sometimes the urge to create something unique and fancy might hamper the user experience simply because the user might not be familiar with it.

How to use Jakob’s law in UI designing?

Users are accustomed to how certain things work, and it might require little to no thinking to no thinking. Taking advantage of established and existing user behaviors and inculcating familiar design patterns in the user decreases the complexity of an experience and has advantages as mentioned below.

  • It helps fulfill the expectations of users and reduce complications in the experience leading to anxiety
  • Requires less education for users on the experience using coach marks or guides.
Jakob’s Law — Example

5. Tesler’s Law

It is also known as The Law of Conservation of Complexity, which states that “for any system, there is a certain amount of complexity that cannot be reduced.

Every designer works on simplifying the process and making it faster, but sometimes they have to analyze that certain things cannot be simplified and be basic.

How to use Tesler’s law in UI designing?

  • It is good to ensure that the burden is lifted from users by dealing with inherent complexity during design. For example, Gmail has launched a smart compose feature which makes it easier for users to quickly write the mail
  • It is good to show the users a way around the problems. When users have long forms to fill it is good to show them a way where they focus on taking one step at a time.
Tesler’s Law — Example

Conclusion:

It is important to keep the context in mind, as well as how users perceive what they see. Take advantage of these laws to create an intuitive experience for users, resulting in a product that is easier to use. I hope this article has helped you to understand the laws.

Disclaimer: These images have been taken from the internet.

Thank you for reading! If you have any feedback, I’d like to hear from you. Say hello at ami.moradia92@gmail.com or connect on LinkedIn.

Check out my Behance profile for case studies and for other projects or check out my Portfolio

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