The 9 Immutable Laws of UX

February 7, 2023 | Read Time : 3 mins

The 9 Immutable Laws of UX

Whether you’re a new UX designer or a seasoned product marketer, you need to understand the fundamental UX laws.

These UX principles serve as a design manual for product design and provide insight into the psychology of user expectations. Therefore, anyone hoping to produce winning ideas must adhere to them.

Let’s look at the 9 important UX laws, which product designer Jon Yablonski initially compiled in his book Laws of UX.

Jacob’s Law:
Users prefer it when your website is designed similarly to other websites they visit.

This law was created by Jakob Nielsen, director of the Nielsen Norman Group, who emphasizes designing for familiarity.

Since the finest designs emphasise the user, it can be useful to leverage prevailing mental models or build in accordance with user expectations.

Fitts Law:
Make sure the user can always reach the target action with ease, both in terms of the distance they must travel and the size of the target.

Paul Fitts, a psychologist, developed this design rule that states:

  • Large enough for users to quickly choose it
  • Distinct from other interface components (larger in size and differently coloured, for instance)
  • It is reachable by users, making it simple to complete the task and clickable from anywhere, requiring no effort on their part.
Hick’s Law:
The likelihood that a user will really make a choice is reduced by having too many and too complicated options.

Hick’s Law (named after the psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman who developed it), is something you may be familiar with if you have ever decided against enrolling in a course because the options list was too many.

Essentially, having too many options causes decision paralysis or analysis paralysis, which is the information overload that prevents people from responding at all. Limit your choices accordingly.

Miller’s Law:
The maximum number of items the average individual can keep in working memory is 7 (plus or minus 2).

Miller’s law explains the reason for limited attention.

Reduce the amount of mental effort or cognitive load required to remember everything to make a decision, as people can only keep seven items in working memory at a time.

Some methods include:

  • According to Hick’s Law, limit your options.
  • Design based on learning models to reduce the strain of learning (return to Jacob’s Law here)
  • Maintain a clutter-free design, so fewer design elements seek users’ attention.
Law of Common Region:
Users group components that share a defined area.

Users who visit a design quickly assess which UI sections to interact with based on grouped elements in a target area.

Creating common regions for interactive designs can be done in several ways, including shading a group of elements, adding a background color, or defining elements in the footer, header and navigation panel.

Law of Proximity:
Users group elements or objects that are positioned close to each other.

Like the Law of Common Region, this law is a grouping concept that makes it easy for users to interact with your design. Similar to the law mentioned above, it also indicates that people consider elements that are close to each other or that are grouped in a series of close elements to be related.

The Law of Uniform Connectivity:
Visually connected elements are considered to be more related than elements with no connection.

Like the Law of Common Region, this law is a grouping concept that makes it easy for users to interact with your design. Similar to the law mentioned above, it also indicates that people consider elements that are close to each other or that are grouped in a series of close elements to be related.

Law of Similarity:
Users tend to perceive related aspects in a design entirely, even if the elements are distinct.

Customers will therefore interpret design elements that are visually similar to one another, such as those that have the same color, size, form, orientation, or movement, as having a shared meaning or function. Because of this, links that have been clicked display in a different hue from links that have not been clicked.

Parkinson’s Law:
A task will increase to consume all the available time

Parkinson’s Law is well known in a range of other professions, especially among enthusiasts of productivity. According to this rule, UX professionals should keep task completion times within the range that users would reasonably anticipate.

Let’s say that users expect filling forms in three minutes (the precise time frame depends on the work at hand, though). It can be identified using usability studies that show people doing the task in question). Anything that can make this time shorter is beneficial.

As we come to an end with these 9 laws of UX, let’s leave you with some practical tips to keep in mind:
  • To reduce the difficulty in navigating your design, create uncluttered, straightforward designs based on mental models.
  • Focus on creating engaging UI designs and user-friendly UX since customers believe visually appealing designs are usable.
  • Limit options and features and break complex steps into simpler ones to lessen the mental load.
  • When grouping elements, remember that users assume the elements are related by function. To intelligently organise items for an interactive design, use background colour, boundaries, forms, and other elements.
  • Make sure that no action takes longer than the user expects it to take.

OriginUX Studio


Team OriginUX

OriginUX Studio is a CoE for User Experience providing UI & UX across Product, Service and Customer Experience Design. We are a cross-disciplinary design team that loves to create great experiences and make meaningful connections for businesses and their users through UI & UX.

Founded in 2016, our larger purpose is to help brands understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding customer experience simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

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