Have you ever asked yourself why people are not doing what you intended them to do with your designs? Have you ever tried to persuade people to do something through your design — Maybe signing up, sharing something or buying your product — and the results were awful to you? Or you decided to draw a road map for your user to be guided through your site and they took another direction that wasn’t intended? Or you intended to do something to catch your users attention but they ignore it?
If you want to persuade your users with your designs, guide them through it and reduce the gap between it and between your users’ behavior you have to understand how people think, make decisions, receive information and how their emotions work, here it comes the role of psychology in user experience.
What do we mean by psychology? According to Wikipedia:
Psychology is the study of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and an applied science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.
So, If you can’t understand human psychology, how can you design products for humans ? That why user experience designers need to read and study about psychology.
How can psychology improve your user experience design skills?
User experience is about humans.
As we defined user experience design in the previous article as “How people feel about a product and their pleasure and satisfaction when using it, looking at it, holding it and opening and closing it, it includes their overall impression of how good it is to use, right down to the sensual effect small details have on them” Therefore, the more you understand about human psychology, motivations, behaviors, and emotions the better human-centered designs you can create.
Improving your user research skills.
User research is about identifying users goals, motivations, and patterns of behavior, your goal is to get all of this information from your users. The hardest part is that people always don’t know what they want or why they are doing what they are doing, and here it comes your job. With a good psychological knowledge, you can understand and identify people motives, goals and the reason behind their behaviors more easily.
Identifying and solving real problems.
When you understand human psychology you can explain in science why they acted or behaved in this way, which allows you to identify the real problems and solve them instead of just figuring out symptoms or solving the wrong problem. You can explain why do users signed up? or why do they download this? or why do they pay with credit card over cash? or why they didn’t buy your product online?
Save your time.
With a good understanding of human psychology, you will be able to identify what works for them and what won’t work for them which save a lot of time for you to focus on good design ideas only.
At the end, having a little amount of knowledge about psychology, human behavior, emotions and cognition can improve your design skills so much, it will influence the way you think and it will make your take care of human needs when designing any product.
As Paul Boag, Co-Founder of Headscape Limited said:
To be a great designer, you need to look a little deeper into how people think and act.