In the ecommerce world, it’s a great challenge to meet the ever-changing customer expectations. Now, customers want enhanced levels of speed.
The human mind is such a complex and powerful machine. It is hard to imagine the extent to which we are dependent on our brain to help us think, analyze, take decisions and have an experience. The human mind is capable of doing impossible things, but, it has certain limitations. We don’t have infinite resources to perceive and understand information. When our brain is overworked, it loses its ability to send and receive neural signals to activate the decision-making process.
Now, designing is a creative, analytical process that involves a great deal of effort and hard work to accomplish user-centric goals. But, somehow, we are so involved in the intricacies of design that we forget why we are designing for. We are designing for human beings. We need to understand the human brain and how it responds to information.
There is no way a person can take a decision when he needs to figure out many things at once. With excessive amount of information, our brain has to handle more that what it can process. In terms of UX design, when it takes a lot of mental efforts to operate an app or any design system, we call it cognitive load. Cognitive load is a stressful condition that slows down the brain and reduces its processing power. Our main goal should be to make the user‘s life simple, and not to complicate anything. Cognitive load is not entirely avoidable, but it can be reduced to create a better user experience.
Don’t always experiment with new features and symbols that users are not aware of. It can disrupt their sense of understanding of the app and create confusion in their mind. Popular symbols like home, cancel, and minimize buttons are universal. You don’t need to change anything that is already working for the user. Make use of self-explanatory text instead of unfamiliar symbols. Users are looking to get things done in the easiest way possible. The right way to help them achieve this goal is to adhere to standard guidelines followed by every site or mobile app.
Whenever we are asked to fill in an extra form or update our information more than once, we feel burdened by the requirements of the app. We can tell this form experience – the more we repeat ourselves, it leads to more frustration. The app should be able to minimize the user workload. Eliminate any non-essential steps such as mandatory sign-up or typing first, middle and last names separately. There is a reason why simplicity in design is given so much importance. You have to reduce the number of steps the users need to reach from point A to point B. Or, else it will strain their cognitive load.
It is important to create an environment that supports the user to understand the content and navigate through the platform without any discomfort. Designing an app with too many icons, images and animations will cause a lot of distraction for the user. We have to keep things simple, use relevant graphics and follow a common pattern to display design elements that improve the situation. We must strive to bring minimalism into our design, and communicate with the user in a natural and easy manner.
As you decide to be super-innovative and creative with your design, there is a chance that things might not turn out the way you want. At every point of interaction, the user will need you to build a unique perspective of his/her requirements. The way your present information to the user and how you create interactive elements within your layout goes a long way in helping your users achieve their goals. Failing to do so, the user won’t be ready to spend time and money on your app.
Researchers have done extensive eye-tracking studies to find out how users process visual and verbal information to reduce cognitive load. Users follow the common F shaped pattern in most of their interactions. A user first reads the headline and scans a few points below, and moves on to the next sub-heading to read some more text. After which, there is not much interaction with the content. Your page layout has to be in sync with the user’s visual patterns. You can cover the most important topics in places where users are likely to pay more attention. You can write compelling headlines, and highlight them with large font, bold text or color. How do you balance visual and verbal information and tap into the existing resources of your users is important to reduce cognitive load.