Great design is achievable. Often though, you have to push through committee's and other opinions of people in order to get the job done. Thankfully, there are some best practices and approaches to design that we can apply to make a great website or user experience. One of those being Miller's Law.
George Miller developed a theory about communication, and how much we as humans can process and retain information. Miller's Law state's that people can most likely recall upwards of 7 items in their working memory.
Miller's Law has since been applied in marketing and advertising design across: print, digital marketing, website user experience and user interface design.
Using Miller's Law is a simple process to follow, but not necessarily easy to do. It requires detailed planning and diligence in order to be successful at its implementation. When building a website for example, there are often a number of different goals and objectives that need to be achieved. It's important to prioritize which goals are most important to you, and for your business. Then you can apply Miller's Law to the layout and the information being presented, in order to reduce the cognitive load of your end user.
Cognitive load is the experience we have as humans processing the information that's in front of us. The more information presented and disorganized, the harder it is for us to process what it is. This becomes highly important in designing the user experience for online platforms like websites, landing pages and native or progressive web apps (PWA).
Cognitive load happens when any of the following exist:
1) Too much information
2) Lack of clarity
3) Large amount of choices
In order to avoid cognitive load, keep in mind the purpose of the website, page or action that you're wanting your user to perform. By minimizing this and keeping it simple, you'll increase any of the following metrics:
1) Bounce Rate
2) Time on Site
3) Conversion Rates
Limit your call to actions, minimize the effort for the user to understand the information in front of them, and reduce the number of options available to them. We've found that 3 to 5 items is a good mix when on a landing page or when grouping information together.
If you're interested to learn more, we've included links to additional reading pertaining to Miller's Law and Cognitive Load.
These are great articles and website resources to learn more about better design and user experience:
1) Laws of UX
2) Khan Academy
Phillip is the founder and CEO of TPA. His background in marketing includes: higher education, restaurant, legal, automotive and medical.See All Works