7 secret mind hacks every UX designer should know


A good design always attracts the user and assures an experience without hassle. A cutting edge product design is one in which the content is interactive and the designs are simplified. This would take the design a long way from its basics. One has to invest in behavioural economics of users that highlight their preferences and personalised information to influence their behaviour.

We like to be guided by our choices. When we have guides to base our decisions on, we irrationally follow it without even questioning it. In the physical world, on the road, instead of a display of possible fine for breaking a speed rule, a frowning or smiling smiley can make people reduce speed and obey speed limits. Moving Bottles of water (instead of soda) so they were at eye level at the kitchens at Google, increased the water uptake by 47% (Kuang 2012)

” We are predictably irrational ”

“Give a little, so you can take a lot”

Dual system brain

System 1: Intuition. Blazingly fast and works on the basis of past experiences and rules of thumb. This part gives us an intuitive evaluation of the situation.
System 2: Reasoning. Slow, focused and self-aware and thinking. This part of the brain allows us to think, rationalize and analyse our way through unfamiliar simulations and complex problems.

Perceived Value

Perceived value of something increases in the presence of a similar product of lesser value. So, when we focus on a product to sell on a page, always present it with similar products that has slight disadvantages to increase the perceived value of the product that you want to sell on a product. Dissimilar products are hard to compare for the user brain so he rules that option out. Always go to a bar with a friend who is less good looking or charming than to us, this will help us get the guy or gal. Because perceived value of us in the eyes of our potential partner increases suddenly.


Offer the users something of value and then sell a paid service. Because humans generally return favours, pay back debs, and treat others as they treat us. Hare Krishna sect faced bankruptcy in the early 1960s and they started a new technique of presenting a flower immediately any of the sect meets another person and they ask for donations. Donations began to flow in. This is a classic example of manipulation of reciprocity in action. Waiters give chocolates or mint just before they present the cheque. This results in increased tip the customers leave for the waiters/waitresses. Proven by a Canadian study.

Before the design ask the users to do something like registration or make a payment, let the users use the product or app. Give free valuable content or resources upfront, show in a counter on the home page how many units (number of articles I can read without subscribing) I have left before registering. Some beauty product stores give away free samples to women to make them feel indebted so that the sample receiving will persuade them to buy the real product.

Rejection-then-retreat invokes the same reaction as reciprocity. If a boy comes to your door and says I have a pack of chocolate for $8 and that he is raising money for scouts, you might say it’s too much. Then he says, that’s ok and offers another pack worth $2. Then you might end up buying it. When the other party backs down in a negotiation between 2 people, the first person feels he got something and then the reciprocity kicks in, as he feels he is given something so he is forced to return the favour. This is a way to tackle clients as deliberately leaving something obvious for them to take away and accepting to remove it will make them feel that they received something, so you as the creator of design can have the approval on the original concept.

Always show the users most expensive products and allow them to filter and find the lowest priced products. This will increase the average price of the products purchased.

In order to amplify the effect of reciprocation, it’s important that you give something exclusive and unique to recipient so that they feel special. Make sure they know it’s from you. And try to keep giving more and more and keep them feel the indebtedness. And at times you can remind them how you have helped them in the past to persuade them to do what you want like make a payment for a service.

Foot in the door approach

This principle of commitment and consistency says that people will go to any lengths to appear consistent in their words and actions – even to the extent of doing things that are basically irrational. This is what happens when the gamblers who bet on horses. They generally feel much better about the horse once they bet on that horse. Once they make public their bets, they will have to behave consistently. Force people to post or write good things about a product and make it public and those people will good about that product. So, essay contests of wish pond work best. Returning products bought from an ecommerce is very less because you collected the product being delivered to your home and you feel indebted for that.

Persuade users to commit

Try to get users’ commitment early on either verbally or in writing. If you are selling a product, sell a very small quantity (a taster) or make it easy for the people to change their mind once they have bought it. Here buying the product is the early commitment, even though they have the right to return it if they want to). Showcase users’ choices and comments to everyone, so that they become committed to everyone else.

The more labour you put into something, the more value you will find in a product and the more you appreciate it.

Social proof

This increases confidence in the product significantly. My decision is group decision: We feel reassured and safer making a decision if we know what others have chosen. Laugh tracks in sitcoms persuade the viewers to laugh more even for bad jokes and viewers feel that the perceived value of humour has increased. Tip jars at bars and restaurants gives social proof of how much other people have been tipping which will increase the average tip given by the customers. This is also true for the case of beggars who start the day of begging with a self-dropped 100Rs in the begging bowl to create the social proof which will increase the donations he received.

Social proof is the peer pressure, or herd behaviour. This applies especially to the way we decide what constitutes a correct behaviour. We view a behaviour as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it. Basically, everyone is doing it, so I will do it too. We have in accordance with the social evidence not contrary to it. How many shared a particular article is a classic example. Reviews are another example. Amazons “what other items customers buy after viewing this item, social review and rating, product rating & customers who bought this item also bought and each of those products have more rating” all included in each single product they sell. Customer testimonials on home pages serve the same purpose. Customer testimonials of peers have even more value. Example A CTO will be more influenced by another CTO about a product or service. Embedded social media mentions, and customer case studies explaining how a product has improved their lives and business. Integrating this with the site will give customers lot of confidence. Social informatics presented as No one shops alone, also apps that shows pop ups of just completed purchases from across the globe. Use of numbers Billions and billions served by McDonald’s. Base camp example of “Just last week, 5622 companies signed up for Basecamp” or “Last year alone, Basecamp helped over 285000 companies to finish more than 2000000 projects”

Approval from Experts & Celebrities & current users

Approval from credible experts of the relevant fields and celebrities (paid or unpaid), current or past users (ratings, reviews, and testimonials) or even the wisdom of the crowd (Approval from large groups of other people), Peers (friends, people you know, people holding similar stature or position or life situation or designation) can positively influence potential buyers into making a purchase decision. This is especially relevant because users present themselves at each brand touchpoint with a lot of doubts. So social proof can significantly help them to be confident about the product.

Liking influences buyer behaviour

We are more likely to be influenced by people we like. People might be similar or familiar to us, they might give us compliments or we may just simply trust them. We have general belief that people we like have best interest for us in their mind or share some perspective with us. Celebrity endorsements are best examples. We like better looking politicians, we allow ourselves to be influenced by celebrities that we like so do sharply designed website and brochures influence our trust in the brand or company.

Physical attractiveness

Make your website, well designed and functional and well suited for what you are selling.


Behave like a friend, not a brand. Show them that you can relate to and understand them.


Have a voice, use social media platforms not to broadcast but hold intimate conversations and form relationships with your customers.

Contact & cooperation

Fight for the same cause as your customers. Nothing builds rapport and closeness like good old-fashioned teamwork.

Conditioning and association

Associate your brands with the same values that you want to communicate and possess.


We feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. This is why advertisers of pharmaceutical companies employ doctors to front their campaigns and why most of us will do most things that our manager requests. Even job titles uniforms, and even accessories like cars or gadgets can lend an air of authority and can persuade people to accept what these people say. Why some waiters tell some dish on the menu is not good and politely ask you may I suggest a dish that is really awesome that you need to try? And we readily order that because of the aura of authority we give to that person. He ends suggesting a lot more and increase our billed amount by the end which otherwise would not have happened. But we are happy. So, we listen to experts more.

Expert Creation

Feature content created by Experts in your team or those associated with you. Feature content or products curated by experts & influencers example Opera book club. If your company is a thought leader, sponsor events or content. Reinforce your companies thought leadership position by publishing white papers, eBooks to your audience. Ask an expert is also an excellent way to make your audience feel and listen to people of authority.

Show your credentials

If you have achieved a milestone or won an award or certificate, make it public and prominent. Leverage trust seals: PayPal, Visa, security badges like Norton protected etc.


This principle says that things are more attractive when their availability is limited or when we stand to lose the opportunity to acquire them on favourable terms. For instance, we might buy something immediately if we are told that it’s the last one or that a special offer will expire soon.

Limited number tactics can also make user take the decision quickly or he loses the chance to purchase. Messages like “19 other people are considering the same hotel” or “Discount only for today” or a count down deal with message similar to “Todays deal ends in 2 hours: 10 min: 11 seconds” create tremendous real-time urgency and pressurizes the user to take quick decision.

Out of stock

Show items as out of stock. This implies to the user that the product they are checking out is a very popular product. Allow users to drop their email to get informed when the product becomes available. This is a powerful call to action to build confidence and to trust the brand.

With this principle, people need to know that they are missing out if they don’t act quickly. If you’re selling a product.

Featured Speaker

Lanny Geffen, Head Of Design, Partner at You X Ventures

I love design because I am a passionate problem solver, with the audacious ambition of putting more goodness in the world. Good design is good for business, good for people, and good for the world. My craft is my passion: leveraging technology to put more humanity in the things we experience everyday – and hopefully help solve some wicked problems along the way. In addition to my work activities, I am a patent holding entrepreneur, toy designer, dad, giant dog’s person, bike explorer, investor, speaker, and consultant. I’m always excited to discuss ideas, explore innovation, and delve into design. So hit me up, let’s grab a coffee or some tacos, and let’s talk.