User experience (UX) design is a huge concept that all marketing experts are buzzing about. According to its most common definition, UX design is "the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product."
Let's analyze that definition a bit. Through the UX design process, you're supposed to provide a product that will be accessible and usable, and will deliver high levels of user satisfaction. You're practically expected to predict what your target audience needs and deliver the solution to them.
But how do you identify that "personally-relevant and meaningful" experience before you know how your audience would react to your product? There's a lot of psychology going on in this process, so it's no wonder why all marketing experts are linking UX design to user psychology.
When you understand the psychology behind user behavior, you can act in advance. You'll design your product and the entire experience around it in a way that influences the user's behavior in a positive way.
Sounds too complicated? Let's break this up, so we'll understand the main categories of user psychology that UX designers should definitely consider.
1. The power of a motivational message
There's a little thing called motivation between each person's actions. When they are about to read an article, they are motivated to do so. When they are about to take the action the article suggests (buy a product, make a change… whatever), it's because the article motivated them to do that.
The psychology behind motivation is pretty complex. It can come from external factors, such as money or other kinds of benefits, but it may also be triggered by internal faction, such as the feeling of satisfaction about taking some kind of action.
During the process of UX design, you can play with all factors. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the core message has to be positive. You want to encourage people to take some kind of action, since they will gain different benefits or the mere feeling of personal satisfaction when they do it.
If, for example, you're designing a language learning app, you can encourage action through notifications that remind the user of the good job they did and trigger their will to proceed to the next level.
Related article: How to Use the Power of Gamification in e-Learning
Do you have a user persona? You should! It helps you predict the motivation triggers at different stages of a customer's journey.
2. The psychology behind limited attention
Why do you think movie directors don't have full control over the editing process? If they were allowed to include all scenes they filmed, the movies would've been way longer and more attention-consuming. That's why they delegate part of this authority to the editing team. Once Upon a Time in America, for example, was too confusing for the audience when it first came out. After it was re-edited in a linear form, it definitely got the attention of the audience.
That happens when you fail to predict the attention span of your target audience. If you don't keep them focused with the design, you'll have to go back to it for constant improvements. However, it's also possible to get it right the first time; you just have to realize that the attention span of today's audience is quite limited.
Psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris found that a person's attention span is mostly based on what they want to accomplish. In the digital world, people tend to ignore important things if you don't bring their attention to them. If, for example, you write a long-form article but you fail to edit it properly, they will skip it even though it offers great tips.
All content you publish has to be polished out to perfection. The website should have all important elements in all the right places. The content itself should be flawless and easy to read. Tools like Hemingway App and AussieWritings.com can help you achieve such level.
3. Interactive design works wonders!
Although people love using the Internet, they are still looking for that "human" element. They don't like to chat with bots, and that's exactly why chatbots are still not successful after so much effort put into their development. The developers are trying to infuse that human element, so we'll have to wait to see the full effect of these bots.
Related article: What is a Chatbot and How to Use It for Your Business
Even when it comes to technology, the users want to see it understands them. That may sound crazy, but it's possible to add more of that human element in web design. First of all, it's important to empathize with your users and explore their needs before you launch any article, product, or update at your website.
The design of your app or website will also be based on this psychological need for interaction. If, for example, you're designing for mobile, you must pay attention to thumb patterns.
Finally, you'll do your best to develop a relationship between the users and your brand, and you can rely on the psychology of color to achieve such an effect.
With this, we just tackled the basics of the connection between user psychology and UX design. It's a large and complex issue, which imposes many questions. When should you introduce a pop-up? How do you design for least effort? How do influencers affect people's decisions? As you keep exploring, you'll reveal new layers and nuances of UX design. The important thing is to start somewhere, and the three categories we listed above are probably the simplest start point.
This is a guest post by Olivia Ryan. Olivia is a passionate blogger who writes on topics of digital marketing, career, and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on various websites. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.