The role of psychology in design and where it is more often used

Right now, most freelancers involved in development are faced with the fact that they are not provided with layouts to work with, and this forces them to do the work without an explicit agreement, which leads to numerous recyclings. In this article, I would like to consider how to optimize the product’s design so that it is intuitive and pleasant to the user, and one of the directions is based on this.


As the name implies, we will talk about psychology. Psychology is a pervasive and complex science involving many sections, and it is pretty closely related to design. After all, the main goal of design is to increase the “significance” of the product in the eyes of the user, and psychology studies the basic mechanisms by which our consciousness works.

In fact, in our lives, we are faced with a vast number of marketing and design “lotions” based on psychological principles, and today we will talk about the main ones, namely:

  • Miller’s Law
  • Hick’s Law
  • Jacob’s Law
  • Freud’s Theory of Sexuality

Let’s look at them in order.

Miller’s Law

George Miller is a “very clever uncle,” he was able to establish a rather interesting property of our mind: the average person can store about 7±2 elements in his short-term memory (by the way, one of the consequences of this phenomenon is that a person uses about three objects at a time in his daily life). The consequence of this phenomenon in design is fragmentation.


Fragmentation is the division of an object into many parts. In design, this is expressed in the allocation of groups of elements:

  • a framework around articles in a newspaper,
  • the type of phone number where blocks of three digits are highlighted,
  • even a keyboard that highlights multiple zones.
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All this allows our brain to more quickly and accurately absorb information, to remember what it saw.

Hick’s Law

William Edmund Hick and Ray revealed this regularity of human consciousness. The phrase – complexity in simplicity, can express its main essence. This law states that the more elements that affect our consciousness, the more time is given to react to them, a kind of “ancestor” of Miller’s law.


The most understandable example, for me personally, is the modern settings of any browser. Initially, going to the settings, we see several tabs, clicking on which we open all the new options and find the value we need pretty quickly. But imagine that all the options will be thrown into a heap. The search time will increase markedly, won’t it? There is a clear example of both Hick’s law and its solution.

Jacob’s Law

This law, for me, is the most beloved and, perhaps, the most common in our lives. It was formulated recently, in 2000. Its primary essence is that users expect the same design and functionality they have already met (meaning sites of a particular subject). It does not resemble the fundamental postulate of life in our society – “To be like everyone else”?

Why is there a redesign?

Indeed you have a question about why the design of sites and ample resources is updated, why it goes against this law, and so on. The reason is that the human brain quickly switches to a new model, but still, it needs a little time. And to give it to users, a relatively simple way is used: to allow them to choose the version of the site they want to be on. And before the updates themselves, various votes are created to take into account the majority’s opinion in the redesign.

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Freud’s Theory of Sexuality

Well, I’m not going to talk much about it. In short, Grandpa Freud in the last century equated people with animals. And the primary animal instincts are the desire for survival and reproduction. It is the second instinct that is actively used in advertising and design. For example, let’s remember how chewing gum is advertised: if you show chewing gum, then no one will be particularly interested in it, but if there is a beautiful female mouth in the background, then somewhere on the subconscious of the male audience, it will be remembered. In design, this is used in the same way.


You should have already formed a particular understanding of how psychology affects design from all of the above. Try to remember that psychology and design are very closely intertwined. Several principles describe the behavior and responses of the masses with great accuracy to your product. The main ones are:

  • Miller’s law states that a person stores 7±2 elements in short-term memory, and this entails that fragmented information is easier to digest.
  • Hick’s law – the greater the number of stimuli, the longer the reaction time, which implies the coagulation of unnecessary information.
  • Jacob’s Law – people’s thinking is inert and follows the opinion of the majority, because of this, the design of your project should have a structure similar to the structure of other resources.
  • Freud’s theory of sexuality – implies that sexual objects cause a greater response in our minds, the use of this principle allows us to focus the user’s attention on the objects we need.
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The use of these models of behavior of the masses can allow you to imitate an environment favorable to the user.

After considering these principles, I would like to say in which area this is used. One of them is UX/UI design.

UX/UI design

UX/UI design is the design of any user interface. The main goal of the UX /UI designer is to make sure that when working with the device, the user can quickly perform the tasks assigned to them.

As the name implies, UX/UI design consists of two components: UX and UI.

  • UX – User Experience, or in translation “user experience”, is a characteristic of how long and fruitfully the user communicates with your interface. That is, it is responsible for the architecture of the interface.
  • UI is a User Interface, literally “user interface” is the implementation of the interface: how it will look, what the color scheme will be, and so on.

In other words, a UX/UI designer is fully responsible for both the creation of the interface and its results. His direct duty is to sell a product or service through the interface.


This article is our first work. I hope that after reading it, you will be able to learn new information for yourself and apply it to improve the quality of your work.


Written by Shubham

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