How People Think

April 17, 2022

Book: 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People

This section was dedicated to how people think and a lot of the research and science behind it. Some of the things I thought were interesting were processing information, uncertainty, mental & conceptual models, and time.

Processing information:

"Think progressive disclosure; don't count clicks." This quote is somewhat conflicting with a lot of information I have come across recently while studying user experience design. This book claims that many times people won't realize they are clicking, as long as they are getting the right information. I do have to agree with that, but as long as it's a happy path and the readers are able to retrace and return back to where they want. And in order to help keep your readers on that happy path, doing the appropriate research to know what they will be looking for and expecting.  


How do you overcome uncertainty? Small commitments. Have you downloaded an app that requires you to pay and are about to change your mind when you notice a free trial at the bottom of the primary CTA? Does it work? I would say 8 out of 10 times it does with me. Especially if I think it will help make my life easier in some sort of fashion.  Small commitments can become habits, which can then slowly or very quickly lead to loyalty.

Mental & conceptual models:

These two models need to ebb and flow together to make a product that works. People will always have mental models, and they all vary depending on that person's past experiences. Mental models can be changed, but training or exposure is needed. A conceptual model is the actual product, if a user's mental model doesn't match, the chances of the product not working out with that user are very high. So, how do you get the mental and conceptual models to line up? You guessed it, user research, learning about your users will help guide you to getting good insights on their mental models.


Have you ever filled out a survey that didn't have a progress bar? Personally, if there's no progress bar and it's past five questions, I begin to question my decision to do the survey. Time seems to slow down when I have zero expectation of how much longer. I am not the only one, studies have shown when people have no experience with something and are not given a progress bar or steps, their patience levels will be very low.

Well, I am behind in this month's book challenge. However, I am not getting discouraged. Between this book not being exactly the most entertaining, my home being under renovation for the kitchen and two of the three bathrooms, and keeping my pups and 16-month son occupied, it's been a crazy month! However, this month isn't over yet, and I'm rolling with the punches. And I have to remind myself that even though I'm not meeting my original deadlines, I'm still pushing forward and I will complete this book. This entire book challenge has been about learning, and as long as I'm doing that, I'm meeting my ultimate goal.

*Image Credit: Mathew Schwartz

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