Psychology of UI/UX design – (part 2) – 8 techniques to create impactful designs

Psychology of UI/UX design – 8 Impactful Design Techniques

Our previous article, 9 key design principles talked about the science of human behavior and the behavioral patterns that designers can tap into for influencing users. In this article, let’s dive deeper into the psychological aspects of design interface. The information will help UI/UX designers to create more impactful applications. 


Priming in psychology means subconsciously influencing people to get a desired response from them. The influence happens without any conscious guidance or intent. When creating a design, an expert can influence users by giving visual hints, with the intent of inducing a response. A great example is when grocery stores place the daily requirements products like egg, rice, pulses at the farthest corner, or at times, close to the billing kiosk. The idea is that when customers have to reach out for the regular groceries, they are able to see all the other items in the store and add them to the cart.  

A similar influence is created by travel apps with scenic panoramas in the background. The idea is to induce potential clients plan their next trip seeing the lush beauty of nature. Therefore, priming inspires customers to try a new product, service, food, etc. 

Progressive disclosure 

People need time to learn about the different features of your app; progressive disclosure ensures that users get that time. So, what is progressive disclosure? It is to disclose information progressively, step by step one feature at a time. This is helpful because users cannot absorb a bunch of information at once. If a task involves too much information processing, users may discard the app. Progressive disclosure reduces the cognitive load for users.  

A good example of progressive disclosure is when you tap on the Settings icon of most apps, and a dropdown of different categories open up. Once you tap on one category, other options in that category unfolds while the rest of the categories remain static. Hence, they give only focused information at a time with no distractions. 

Labour illusion 

In today’s world of instant gratification, customers expect services at the click of a button. However, transparency about processes and delivery can keep customers informed about the labour involved. Take note that labour illusion doesn’t give you the freedom to deliver late; you must only use it as a trust-building practice. Not sticking to your estimated deadlines can backfire. One example of labour illusion is Bluedart tracking, which shows entire transit details. Amazon and other e-commerce sites also show updates on where products have reached or send notifications about delayed deliveries.  


When too many notifications or nudges are sent to a user, they react unexpectedly; it is due to reactance arousal. Users may delete the app, stop using a service, unsubscribe, or worse leave negative feedback on public platforms. This is why a designer must create the right balance to maintain user interest. If a user’s device is swamped with notifications, they are sure to react. Therefore, know where to stop when trying to keep the users engaged. 

Temptation Bundling 

Professor Katherine Milkman from the Wharton University of Penn coined the term temptation bundling. She explained that people are more likely to perform a task when it brings a reward with it. When selling a product/service, temptation bundling is cautiously used to reward customers for their purchases. For example, a coffee shop runs an offer that every six online orders of coffee will get you one coffee serving free on your next visit. Coffee lovers will love the idea and visit the shop to get their free beverage. You can create your temptation bundle to entice your users. 

Centre-stage option 

According to research by the University of Chester, when similar items are linearly arranged, people mostly choose items that are placed in the middle or at the extremes. Audiences are naturally biased for items placed in the middle. You can utilise this customer preference to increase the sales of a product or service on your app/website. All you have to do is, place an item you want to sell more in the middle of the product arrangement. 

Decoy Effect 

The decoy effect is another way to influence user choices. According to the decoy effect, a user gets enticed to select an option when other less desirable choices surround it. Let’s take an example of buying a newsletter subscription where we have three options:  

1. One monthly newsletter @ INR 100  

2. 4 monthly newsletters (weekly update) @ INR 250  

3. Two monthly newsletters (fortnight update) @ INR 180  

Here, the third option creates a decoy effect. You are influencing users to either take the first subscription or the second. Choices first and second both dominate the third choice significantly. Similarly, designers can implement the decoy effect driving users to take action.  

Decision fatigue 

Giving too many options to select from can only seem like a good idea, but it’s not. When users spend more time comparing several options, their ability to pick one item decreases causing decision fatigue. Designers have to be careful about providing just the correct number of options to select from. As a designer, you must always help the users with logical decision-making.  

Are you ready to create apps that drive user attention? The mentioned techniques will help you in achieving your goals.

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