Day#317: The brain creates shortcuts – 100 things every designer should know

Day#317: The brain creates shortcuts – 100 things every designer should know

Hey Uxers for today I wanted to start sharing a reading journey that I am on, every now and again I beat myself up for not reading enough and decide on a book to advance my knowledge in the Research and Design industry. It’s lovely weather here in Johannesburg, South Africa but to elaborate since my view of loving it can be subjective.. It’s raining outside a slow drizzle that has been on and off for a day or so, and it is such wonderful weather to lay on the couch with this book. 

Already on the first page I have learnt something interesting, I’m sure it ties in with Gestalt principles which I have learnt through the Interaction Design Foundation, but here it is referred to as Kanizsa triangle named of the psychologist that developed it Gaetano Kanizsa in 1955.. 

Basically as the title of this post suggests your brain creates shortcuts when it sees something, in order for you to make a conclusion about what you are seeing faster. This from an evolutionary perspective helped in survival situations and is still active today. It is the ability to sometimes make something in our minds from a hint of a visual cue. It is best expressed in 100 things for every designer should know by Susan Weinschenk indicating..

“Your brain creates these shortcuts in order to quickly make sense out of the world around you. Your brain receives millions of sensory inputs every second (the estimate is 40 million) and it’s trying to make sense of all of that input. It uses rules of thumb, based on past experience, to make guesses about what you see. Most of the time that works, but sometimes it causes errors. “

How does this relate to UX, Research or Design? Well we create products and experiences all the time that people have to go through. If the experience is too unique and requires a person to figure things out on an ecommerce site and does not allow them to simply add to a basket this increases the cognitive load for the user. There are so many things running through a users mind when they are engulfed in your experience, from what they need to get out of it, to pricing and delivery etc. To reframe this imagine you wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies, if you are anything like me you open up Pintrist to find delicious easy to make recipes. You then click through to the blog that looks like the best option, and when you scroll down to the recipes ingredients are measured in a completely foreign way. You search online to see if it a measuring method is not used in your country, or you just go back to Pintrist and find another recipe. This is actually a real issue I sometimes face and it’s so frustrating trying to convert and figure the measurements out, imagine if some person/business decided to invent a new measurement option how confusing would that be on top of the confusion we already have with two different options which is really not a lot. Now imagine users going from site to site, and having a completely different look and placement when all they want to do is find out the price of x. Anyway, this is just the first page, looking forward to learning so much more from this book. Happy researching until next time Uxers 

Bye for now

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