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    Judgment Heuristics in UX

    Judgments and decision making is most critical aspect in UX because in the end everyone wants to understand what our users are thinking while taking decision. Is there a way we can sway there judgements? Designers can leverage few principles from behavioural economics and psychology which help in understanding what steers a user to take a desired action.

    Priming Effect

    Priming is “an implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus influences the response to another stimulus.”

    Priming in Real Life

    “The aroma of warm bread spread tantalizingly out of the bakery.”

    And now fill in the blanks to form a word:

    B_ _ T_R

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    Out of many possibilities such as “barter,” “banter,” “beater,” “bitter,” or even “better” your word must be “Butter”, that happens because “bread and butter” phrase is very common in English.

    Priming in Web Design

    Showing a coupon code field at checkout page will lead to cart abandonment even though user had no previous intentions of getting a discount. The user will leave checkout flow in search for promo code. This happens due to FoMO (fear of missing out) on any discounted offer.

    Coupon code field in Checkout flow

    Anchoring Effect

    Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes a tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information available when making a decision. 

    Anchoring in Real Life

    When you are out to purchase a car with a mindset to spend not more than $27,000 and your local car dealer offers it in $26,000, you quickly grab the deal. The price offered was obviously below your expectations. Hardly you knew that other dealers in city are offering same car in $25,000. 

    Anchoring in Web Design

    In a non-profit donation website if you want the users to donate more, you should anchor an initial amount to some value instead of keeping the input field blank. This will compel user in deciding a value of donation amount a little higher than usual.
    Alternatively, you can provide them few option to checkbox in descending order instead of ascending order. While reading values from higher to lower the anchor for amount donation will set higher, leading the donor to pay little more.

    Two alternative interfaces for input fields in Donation Sites

    Framing Effect

    Framing can be explained as how a situation is presented to get the most accurate results. Framing is mostly used while conducting user research. Same situation presented in different manner can lead to significant shift in results.

    Framing in Real Life

    The labels at back side of your favourite chips bag fools you into thinking that you are consuming less calories than required. The food label indicates there are about 15 chips in a serving, and each serving is close to 120 calories. Now there are 4 servings per bag that means we end up consuming 480 calories which equals to Average Indian Lunch Thali.

    Framing in Web Design

    Many business models have adapted Freemium Price plans. The user quickly signs up for free service and invests time on something they wouldn’t want to loose and they end up paying for services after trial period ends. This mostly happens due to cognitive bias called “loss aversion”. People tend to perceive that avoidance of loss is more important than the acquisition of equivalent gain.

    Framing in Freemium Price Models


    While designing experiences, a designer can be mindful of these biases as these could lead to better product engagement and conversion.


    Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman: “Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases,” Science (Sep. 27, 1974).
    Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Econometrica, 47(2), 263-291.
    “The Importance of Framing in the User Experience” by Michael Morgan.
    “The Framing Effect in UX” by Navneet Nair.

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  • Suraj Kumar (Moderator)
    This blog gives an insight of web-designing…
    Being a web-developer I always rely on web-designer for the UI & UX, Now I think I can discuss with them about these biases in further designs.
    • Ayushi Aswal (Moderator)
      Thank you! I am glad you found it helpful.
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