The laws of UX

Originally published at:

Von Restorff effect vs. Jakob’s law…Fight!

ETA: Yoblonski’s rule-o-thumb: modern graphics styled as 1960s minimalist paperbacks are doubleplushipstergood


what a crappy looking site


It felt like I opened my grandpa’s trunk and found some old business pamphlets.


Manipulation of the serial position effect to create better user experiences is reflected in many popular designs by successful companies like Apple, Electronic Arts, and Nike.

So, Apple, somebody and Nike?


I’m glad “Laws” are highlighted with scare-quotes. “Parkinson’s Law” is particularly horrible:

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

Parkinson’s funny one-liner was all the justification professional managers needed to reach the conclusion that there is no sacrifice required when you shorten deadlines. What a load of garbage.


I appreciate that the laws of UX site is completely unusable, in that its “guide” won’t teach you anything. The only UI principle I was able to get from staring at these was Fitts’ Law, and that’s because I already know Fitts’ Law.

I have a friend who is super smart, but street-smart not book-smart. He was always on-the-go, self-employed and highly, highly networked before the internet as we know it. Basically, any time we were together he was also working, swinging by for office supplies, kinkos, clients, venues; all stops required different items or orders-of-business (including remembering to make all the stops themselves.)
He had an easy tactic for remembering everything (not exactly the sequence, but all the items, from which a sequence could more easily be ordered, anyway) which was brilliantly simple: don’t memorize the items themselves, memorize the number of things attached to the location/person.
We need 5 things from Wal-Mart. I need to get 3 things from Bob. When you get there, you easily remember a few (the first and last, according to the OP theory) but knowing exactly how many more are in the middle allowed him/us to rapidly recall everything even though we took no notes and only vaguely mumbled them all once when we counted them up at some earlier time, and then he’d say “OK, that’s FIVE things from Wal-Mart!” And also, sharing the number with who you’re going to be with is an excellent redundancy. I like notes and lists, but they weren’t practical for him and he didn’t need them anyway.
Not exactly rocket science but I never came up with it myself in the 25 years before his influence (maybe that says a lot about me, but still) and it works works works.

seems related to something I saw from a completely different context recently:


Actually, a better way to interpret it is that as soon as time-consuming tasks become trivial, you will suddenly find that you start doing new time consuming tasks (even though you got through life fine before when you never did them at all). Or, “if your boss ever learns how little time it takes to do the monthly spreadsheet, expect it to turn into a weekly spreadsheet.” Edward Tenner once referred to this as one of the “revenge effects” of technology.


I have the feeling it was optimized for the iPad, and to me it seemed to be more of a poster source. Something to decorate the office walls with using the company’s DIN A3 printer.

What if you’re using a screen reader?

All snark aside, it is still valid as the rule also applies to bulleted lists, the navigation elements on the screen reader, and so on. All you seem to be mentioning is something designers actually account for in responsive design. Well, okay, maybe not screen readers, but now elements on a small phone screen have different arrangements than on a panorama desktop monitor.

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