The Hick’s Law for Web Designers

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The laws are made so that people live their lives easier. One of the laws is made so that you can have more visitors on your website is known as the Hick’s Law for web designers. Before we going in-depth, let’s get aware of by whom it was made.

The Hick’s Law

So, the Hick’s Law was made by a team of British and American psychologists name ‘Ray Hyman’ and ‘William Edmund Hick’ in 1952. And that is why Hick’s law is also known as the Hick-Hyman law. This pair studied the relationship between the number of options or choices present and a person’s reaction and time for choosing the given options. It says, the more options to choose, the more time a person will take.

Why Hick’s Law?

#1. It simplifies the options for the users by breaking down them into smaller parts.

#2. Avoid massive users by marking the recommended options.

#3. Use progressive onboarding to decrease load and confusion for new users.

#4. Navigation becomes stronger and effective

#5. Better User experience and User interface

Have you ever went to the supermarket to buy chocolates? If you go to the Internet and type chocolate you will be shown thousands of results. That is a huge amount of chocolates. Obviously you will never buy all of that. There is an endless list of dark chocolate, Russian chocolate, milk chocolate, dairy milk, plain chocolate and much more than you can imagine. And actually who wants to neglects chocolates right? Nobody! But the good thing is you have a choice! No matter what kind of chocolate you like, you are likely to find tons of varieties in the chocolates. And, you will get confused right?

Maybe you are thinking about what I am supposed to tell you. From where is the chocolate came in the web designing. But the relatable thing is Hick’s law says the more choices you get, the more time you will take to make a choice or decision. If you want a chocolate today, and you are scrolling the screen, you might spend 20-30 minutes looking at the types. Instead of this, it should take a moment. Now, let’s take you to the point exactly what Hick’s want to say!

Hick’s Law in UX Design!

So, now the question is can we use Hick’s law to improve user experience and user interface? The answer is, totally yes! Let’s say you are designing your e-commerce website. Imagine that your store has many items including clothes, shoes, accessories, crockeries, home & living decor, etc to browse. Maybe you have more than 60 categories.

When it comes to creating and designing the menu of the website, what would you do? Will you show all the 60 categories to the visitors? Of course not! That would be completely wrong and mad. That 60 categories will probably irritate your visitors and they will leave your website. The Hick’s law is made keeping in mind this trouble and helps designers in such a way that they design a website accordingly and the visitors will stay on the website and go happily.

The Hick’s Formula

The Hick’s formula is based on the given choices and the person’s reaction to it.

And the formula is,  RT= a + b log2 (n)

Don’t worry it is not frustrating mathematics, it is quite simple when you will understand this.

RT means reaction time. ‘a’ is the total time which is not included in the decision making. ‘b’ is the constant based on the processing time for each choice (which is 0.155) and ‘n’ is the number of choices given.

All of that means the time it takes to make choices or decisions is an increase in the number of alternatives. If there are more options for navigation, the time it takes for the response is higher. And higher the response time, low user experience.

How to apply Hick’s Law in designing?

Create categories

Amazon, menu, navigation
Designing bulls, navigation
Designing Bulls

Even though Amazon will give you a thousand results, it still uses the Hick’s law for the navigation menus and categories. As you can see in the image different categories like mobile & computers, Men’s fashion, women’s fashion, etc. When you tap on the particular category it will break down into subcategories. And, you will exactly what you want to find. You can also see another example in the Designing Bull’s menu which also has clean categories and subcategories. This law creates high-level navigation menus that will make a visitor more confident and he search easily.

Limit the choices

By creating a very long menu and confusing navigation will not only make your visitor frustrate but also make your website impression low. Visitors or users hate filling out details and scrolling to find the thing they want, especially if it is a non-categorized menu. You have seen limit categories in the e-commerce websites. You just have to limit the options not in menu or items but for the pay type also. Create a quick buy option and it will make a better UX and UI as well.

So, that is not so short and not so long a blog about Hick’s law for web designers. And, the conclusion is everyone wants to save their time. When you apply the Hick’s law in your designing process, you are working towards the extra benefits of user experience and user interface. So, more power to your design!

Tell us about your experience with this blog and if you also want your own user-friendly website, get connect to Designing Bulls.

Also, check out our relatable blog, 5 Important things in UX/UI that makes the client happy.

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