Each product is created with different goals to bring convenience to the life of the user. As a designer, you have a duty to do this. To create a product that everyone likes to use, you can incorporate principles from different areas of research into the design process. Below are 6 laws you should know when designing a website.
6 Rules of Thumb to Sharpen Your Web Design
1. Hick’s law
Hick’s law is a psychological principle named after two psychologists, William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman. The law says that the more options a user has, the longer it will take for them to make a decision.
The options seem good, but a great UX design won’t need many options. Above all, they have to help users troubleshoot quickly. When there are many options available, users need to find out all the options before making a decision. That means it takes more time to reach the goal.
In addition, more options mean more problems, especially if there is no clear explanation for each option.
General rules for UX: “More options, more problems.” – Scott Belsky
2. Jakob’s law
Jakob’s law was invented by Jakob Neilsen. This law states that users prefer your site to behave the same way as other websites they already know.
For example: If your website has a lot of content, must have a search function, the footer should contain links to important pages, the site logo can be clicked and is linked to the home page. Users don’t like surprises, they like something familiar so they don’t have to learn how to use your site.
“Asking users to apply new behaviors or even modify their existing behaviors is very, very difficult.” – Khoi Vin
3. Fitt’s law
Fitts’ Law is a prediction of human movement developed by Paul Fitts, an American psychologist. When it is used in a design, it means that your buttons must be large, clear and the distance between successive actions should be reduced.
“Do something simple but meaningful.” – Don Draper
4. Ockham’s Razor
Ochkam’s Razor is a philosophical principle of William of Ockham, a French monk who lived in the 14th century. There are different variations of this principle. It argues that when there are many solutions to a problem, the simplest solution is still the best trend. When applied to design, that means:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
When designing a product or website, try to eliminate unnecessary things that distract users and make it difficult for them to achieve their goals.
5. Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle, called the 80/20 rule, is named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. This rule states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. When this is used in product design, it means that unused functions or features may be removed. This is similar to Ochkam’s Razor because both principles are the same – the simpler the better.
“Eliminate everything unnecessary to focus on one point.” – Christoph Niemann
6. Weber’s Law – A remarkable difference
Weber’s law is named after a German physician, Ernst Heinrich Weber. This law explains that the cognitive change in effort is proportional to the initial effort, along with noticeable differences; means the effort of the difference (the smallest change in the effort observed or noticed) corresponds to the original attempt.
When we redesign a product, we should think about how users adapt to those changes. Usually, if your product has a drastic change, no matter how good the new design is, users will still prefer the older design. This is the natural behavior of humans. What you should do instead is – change gradually, so gradually users cannot see the significant difference. This helps them adapt and accept the new design.
“If you do it right, it will last forever.” – Massimo Vignelli
In addition to the basic design principles, there are other rules or laws you can follow to highlight your design. The above are famous laws from various academic fields, and there are also many very useful rules for designers, such as the one-third rule and the golden ratio.