Bummer! This is just a preview. You need to be signed in with a Basic account to view the entire video.
Cognitive Psychology: Mental Models4:47 with Hope Armstrong
Now it's time for a bit of cognitive psychology. We'll look at how the human brain processes information and how users approach the user interface with set expectations.
- Cognitive psychology: the scientific study of mental processes
- Mental model: an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world.
- language use
Alan Dix's four golden rules of navigation:
- Knowing where you are
- Knowing what you can do
- Knowing where you are going - or what will happen
- Knowing where you've been - or what you've done
- The Design of Everyday Things - Donald A. Norman
- Complete Beginner’s Guide to Interaction Design - UX Booth
- UX Design Glossary: How to Use - Affordances in User Interfaces - Tubik Studio
- UX Design Patterns - Treehouse course
In the next few videos, we'll explore topics that overlap with psychology.
Let's start with a quick psychology lesson.
Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental processes.
The American Psychological Association breaks it down into these processes.
Attention, [SOUND] language use, [SOUND] memory,
[SOUND] perception, [SOUND] problem solving,
[SOUND] creativity, [SOUND] and thinking.
This is a broad field.
So I'll just touch on the areas that are most relevant to UX design.
In this video, we'll take a look at mental models.
So we know that products are designed with interactions,
but how do they relate to one another?
As you know, patterns and relationships are important in design.
People will come to your product with their own past experiences and
expectations of how your product will work,
even if they have no prior experience with the product.
And of course,
current users will have memories of prior interactions with your product.
These are called mental models.
A mental model is an explanation of someone's thought process about how
something works in the real world.
Think of your favorite app.
Do you notice any patterns in the way that the interactions are designed
even across several screens?
For example, in a note taking app,
you may notice a consistency in the editing interactions across the app.
To edit a field, you can edit the text directly and it auto saves.
This works in the same manner no matter if you're editing a note or
changing a profile settings.
The consistency of this interaction across the app forms a mental model in
your brain and allows you to have a predictable seamless experience.
An example of a broken mental model would be if the profile settings
page had a different editing interaction than the note taking screen.
Perhaps you'd have to click Edit to enter to edit mode and then click Save.
That'd be confusing if you're expecting the other more direct auto save option.
It'd be much harder to learn how to use an app with inconsistent mental models.
And even worse, inconsistencies make users question the underlying
logic of the product and the integrity of the brand.
That's why apps tend to share similar mental models.
Products are designed to match people's mental models of what they expect to find
on your website and how they expect to interact with it.
For example, people expect to find the navigation bar at the top or
bottom of a screen, and icons for common screens such as a user profile or
settings usually looks similar to make them easy to identify and
reduce cognitive load.
For more information about interface and
behavioral design patterns, check out the teacher's notes.
Let's delve into a mental model.
Alan Dicks is an expert in human computer interaction, and
he defined the four golden rules of navigation.
Number one is knowing where you are.
This can be in the form of breadcrumbs, which are links that show the current
page in relation to where it fits with the other site content.
Number two is knowing what you can do.
This can be a back button that allows users to return to the previous page.
[SOUND] Number three is knowing where you are going or what will happen.
For example, if the user is filling out a form that spans multiple pages,
there should be an indication to show how many pages remain.
[SOUND] Number four is knowing where you've been- or what you've done.
Continuing on with that last example,
the form should indicate the previous data has been saved.
A simple feedback message to show the data has been saved will ease
any tension about losing data if they stopped midway.
Since those are the best practices, chances are that most users have been
exposed to navigation that operates in those ways.
Therefore they carry that set of expectations when they visit a new
That wraps up mental models.
The next time you use an app, think about its mental models.
I'll see you in the next video where I'll explain affordances.
You need to sign up for Treehouse in order to download course files.Sign up