Daily UX Crash Course: 27 of 31

To finish off the User Psychology section of the crash course, we will look at the ways new users and experienced users see your design differently:

How Experience Changes Experience


(If you’re just starting the UX Crash Course: Start Here.)


Power Users are the Minority:

Statistically-speaking, it is impossible for advanced or power users to be “most” of the people using your design. Although it can be very tempting to believe that.

Unless your product/service is highly technical the vast majority of your users will be normal people with other shit to do. Not super-focused, tech-savvy people like you and your colleagues.

Hard truth: If you want millions of happy users, design for the distracted idiots, not the obsessed geniuses.


Hidden vs. Visible: The Paradox of Choice

In most projects there will be situations where you have to decide how “clean” you want your layout to be.

Designers will usually choose to hide everything because it looks better.

Non-designers will want all of their favourite features to be visible all the time. (which will be a different set of features for each person)

So how do you choose?

Visible features will always be used more and discovered more than hidden features. We are reminded that they exist every time we see them.

However, the “Paradox of Choice” says: the more options you see, the less likely you are to choose any of them. So if you overload normal users with too many choices, they will freak out and run away screaming.

Make sure beginners can find the core features easily. Ideally, without clicking anything. And try to give power users easy access to advanced features, even if they aren’t visible all the time.


Protip: Have you hidden 20 social media options behind a single “share” button? Are you excited about how much cleaner it looks?! Unfortunately, you haven’t designed a “simple” interface. You have just crippled your sharing features because there are too many choices and nobody can see them. Counter-intuitive, right?

Choose a few options & make them visible all the time. You’ll thank me later.


Recognition vs. Memory:

How many different icons could you name off the top of your head, right now?

How many could you recognize if I gave you a list?

If you’re a normal human, the second answer would be a lot more.

If you design your interface so people have to ask for something — like search — they will only use the features they can remember. That means that, over time, they will use fewer and fewer features. Not more and more.

If your users are forced to deal with a large amount of information, give them some suggestions of categories or some other kind of help to remind them where to look!


Learning is Slow. Habits are fast.

“Onboarding” is the word we use to describe the step-by-step lessons, or very simple introductions to a new interface. It helps new users find the main features easily, and avoid confusion.

However, what happens when the user has used your interface for 2 years?

Habits are created very quickly in your user’s mind, so you should design a “fast way” to do key features, which might not be as obvious. Power users will take the time to learn them for the sake of extra productivity. Keyboard shortcuts, right-click options, and all the little Twitter tricks like “.@” tweets are examples of this idea.


Tomorrow we are going to get into the best part of the whole Crash Course: What is Data?