Chapter 12. Applying Psychological Principles in Design

The wealth of knowledge afforded to designers by behavioral and cognitive psychology research provides an invaluable foundation for creating human-centered user experiences. Much like an architect with an intimate knowledge of how people experience space will create better buildings, designers with an understanding of how humans behave will create better designs. The challenge becomes how to build that intimate knowledge and make it part of the design process. In this chapter, we’ll explore some ways designers can internalize and apply the psychological principles we’ve looked at in this book and then articulate them through design principles that relate back to the goals and priorities of their teams.

Building Awareness

Building awareness is perhaps the most obvious but effective way for designers to internalize and apply the psychological concepts covered in this book. The following are a few strategies I’ve seen implemented within teams to do this.


The first and easiest way to internalize the principles discussed in this book is to make them visible in your working space. Since launching my Laws of UX project, I’ve received countless photos from teams that have printed out each of the posters available on the website and put them up on the walls for everyone to see (Figure 12-1). It makes me incredibly proud to see my work on office walls all around the world, but I also realize it serves a functional purpose: ...

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