Minimize the "Thought Energy"

In the previous lessons, you've learned how to minimize the user's hand and eye energy to navigate through your website using different techniques. Today, you will learn about minimizing the user's thought energy. More than minimizing clicks and keyboard stroke, minimizing thought energy is more difficult to accomplish.

Thinking makes users unhappy, annoyed, frustrated, and even angry. If a website or an app is too complex or if there’s too much text to read, people leave - and you don’t want that. Keep things simple, write concisely, and present what the users want first. Don't make them guess. Help the users figure out things at first glance by minimizing the thought energy needed to navigate your website. So for today, we will briefly introduce to you some of the techniques to minimize the thought energy the user needs in using your website.

Look at the example of a web page below. Looking at it, how does it make you feel?


1. Quality and Usability

Usability is an attribute that evaluates how easily your users interact with your design. It refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process. Simple usability improvements can significantly increase the probability that your product will be a success. Therefore, all designers must consider usability early on in the design process.

As Forrester Research puts it: “Usability goals are business goals. Websites that are hard to use frustrate customers, forfeit revenue and erode brands. Executives can apply a disciplined approach to improve all aspects of ease-of-use. Start with usability reviews to assess specific flaws and understand their causes. Then fix the right problems through action-driven design practices. Finally, maintain usability with changes in business processes.”

2. Simplicity and Consistency

Joe Sparano, an American graphic designer, once said that a good design is obvious and transparent. You know how they say that "there is beauty in simplicity"- it's also applicable in UI/UX design. But simplicity in UI/UX design isn’t just about the minimal colors you use or the short and concise texts - it’s also about understanding your user’s minds and using that understanding to design a product that helps users get what they want in the easiest way possible.

Along with simplicity, consistency is also one of the key principles of a good UI/UX design. People, in general, don't like the unexpected. They want security and consistency. Consistency in your design will significantly reduce the user's learning time, thus giving them a good experience. You don't want to surprise your users. Always remember that a good UI/UX design provides a consistent and straightforward experience.

3. Clear and Concise Content

People spend very little time reading web content. Our brain cannot retain much information, so it's easy to overwhelm users when too much information or options are presented.

When something requires a considerable investment of time - or looks like it will - people usually leave. Remember that users don't need to know everything at once. Keep your content simple, direct, and clear to make your users stay.

4. Organized Flow

During the design phase, you create a flow to determine the information structure of your website. Your goal during this phase is to create a user flow where you think the users will have the most comfortable time navigating through your website.

An organized flow shows a smooth path from your landing page to the specific page you want your user to reach. There’s nothing better than visiting a new website and getting to the page you want to go to without any troubles or confusion along the way. Design your website in a way where it always feels like there’s someone who’s constantly guiding your users. When you make them feel they’re not alone, you get loyal users.

Minimizing the thought energy is the hardest to master as you need to know what real users are thinking. It can only come by either being a target user yourself or by doing a lot of interviews or doing exercises like creating personas to better relate with real users. But if you master it, it will make a big difference in your UI/UX design skills and your product's success.