UX glossary

A collection of psychological biases, design principles and UX concepts that affect the product experience.


⚓️ The Anchor Effect - People become anchored to the first piece of information they see.

😮‍💨 Cognitive Dissonance - The discomfort of holding two conflicting opinions.

🏎 Cognitive Drift - The experience of losing attention, or your mind 'wandering'.

👍 Confirmation Bias - The tendency to interpret (or seek out) information that is consistent with your beliefs.

🛌🏽 Decision Fatigue - It's harder to make rational decisions, as the number of decisions increases.

🦜 The Decoy Effect - Companies will intentionally place an unsuitable option in a list, to help frame other options.

⛳️ Default Bias - People tend to accept default suggestions and actions.

🎁 Endowment Effect - People overvalue something that they own regardless of market value.

🏝 Familiarity Bias - People tend to prefer what is familiar to them, and to avoid the unknown.

👞 The FITD Effect - Agreeing to a small request increases the likelihood of agreeing to a second, larger one.

🥅 Goal Gradient Effect - People often become more motivated, the closer they get to their goal.

📸 Hawthorne Effect - People often modify their behaviour when they know that they're being observed.

🏋️‍♀️ The Labour Illusion - People value products more when they perceive that a lot of effort was put in to create it.

🚦 Loss Aversion - The pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.

🏔 Peak-end Rule - People disproportionately value both the peak, and the end of an experience.

🍕 Progressive Disclosure - It's less overwhelming to be progressively exposed to complications.

🫵 Pygmalion Effect - Broadcasting expectations can alter a user's performance.

⌛️ Recency Bias - People will favour (i.e., recall, or have a preference for) recent events over historic ones.

🪫 The Scarcity Effect - People are more likely to take action if a product or service has a limited supply.

📮 User-Initiated Triggers - People are more likely to interact with a trigger if they created it themselves.

Design principles

🧠 Cognitive Load - Refers to the amount of 'working memory' required to complete a task.

⚡️ Doherty Threshold - People will start becoming disinterested if they have to wait for more than 400ms.

😳 Hick's Law - The more choices that are available to the user, the longer it will take them to reach a decision.

🧯 Reactive Onboarding - An non-intrusive and retrospective onboarding technique.

👀 Selective Attention - The process of focusing on a particular object for a certain period of time.

🏁 Serial Position Effect - People are better at remembering the first and last items in a list.


🎉 Aha! Moment - The moment when a user understands the value of your product.

🕶 Content Blindness - People will subconsciously pay less attention to similar or duplicate content.

🍟 Context Craving - Often people will crave context and clarity rather than efficiency.

🗯 Context Shifting - The process of switching from one 'thing' to another.

🧩 Curiosity Gap - The brain has a tendency to try and solve incomplete information.

🤯 Experience Creep - Adding functionality often makes your UX exponentially more complicated.

🖼 Framing - People are influenced by how information (or options) are presented.

🐨 Fuzzy Context - A correlation between context given, and follow-on questions not answered.

🎮 Gamification - Using elements of game playing to encourage engagement with a product or service.

🍯 Intentional Friction - Intentionally adding friction into a process, for another benefit.

🚧 Knowledge Gap - The difference between the information that the user knows, and what they need to know.

😤 Reactance - Forcing someone to adopt a behaviour may backfire.

🙋‍♂️ Social Proof - People will adapt their behaviour based on what others do.

😍 User Delight - Small moments of delight can have an outsized impact on overall UX.

🎰 Variable Rewards - Variable rewards often motivate users better than predictable ones.

🛟 Visible Lifeboats - The presence of a feature can be reassuring, even if the expected utility is very low.