Day#82: How Hicks law affects UX

Day#82: How Hicks law affects UX

The basic premise of Hicks law or the Hick Hyman law to be more specific, is that users take longer to make a decision if there are more options. This premise is applied not only to online user experience but all sorts of businesses that deal with decision making. For example I used to work at a company where I worked on menu designs for restaurants we used the Hicks principle for laying out menu items for customers. It was an upper class experience and the idea was to create few options for people that gave the appearance of elite quality over quantity. It allowed for other advantageous business choices as well, like staff only needing to know how to make and describe fewer meals to patrons. As well as preparing in advance which could reduce waiting time for customers

In relation to UX the premise can be utilized for processes like online shopping, and forms to say but a few. Below is an interesting article snippet from Interaction design foundation’s blog

“Categorizing Choice – You can see Hick’s Law in action in the navigation of almost any website. If your menus offered direct access to every link within your site, you could quickly overwhelm the visitor. If Amazon’s menus did that, it could take several hours to scroll through a menu! Suddenly, searching for a last-minute birthday present or replacing a printer cartridge becomes a “stressfest”!

Happily, designers group menu items into high-level categories instead. These slowly expand as the users select options; the new categories then take users where they want to go. Do you recall Amazon screenshots just above? There’s a compromise between offering all functionality and Hick’s Law, which pressures the designer to keep things as simple as possible.

With highly complex sites, the use of Hick’s Law requires further implementations of choice. As designers, we notice how we can scatter navigation items throughout the design in small, discrete clusters. These help narrow down huge volumes of information without overloading the user.”

Some other resource material to look through for extra reading on the topic

Laws of UX on Hicks Law

UX planet on Hicks Law

As I have said before, careful research will guide you to certain mechanisms but there are theories in place which can assist to create a smoother user experience, try familiarize yourself with all the industry terms, processes and mechanisms for the best possible results in your next project. Happy researching!

Bye for now!

2 Replies to “Day#82: How Hicks law affects UX”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *