Common Human Factors That Inform Design

What makes for a better design?

Common Human Factors That Inform Design

Recently, Diwali- the wonderful festival of lights was celebrated all over India. In earlier times, women used to draw rows of colours forming a beautiful design called Rangoli in their homes and courtyards. Considering human factors, nowadays rangoli stickers are provided that can be pasted anywhere.

Earlier, people used to keep indoor plants in their homes as a form of decoration. But, if there were children or pets at home they were most likely to chew or crush the plants. Designers then came up with the idea of artificial plants that were just imitations of natural plants and needed less maintenance.

Nearly everything is designed to fit human needs, from rangolis to indoor plants. But that wasn't always the case. Believe it or not, it took years for designers to consider what we now call the human factor. The human factor describes the range of variables humans bring to their product interactions.

Human factors that inform design

Here's a few of the most common ones:

  1. Impatience - If we even look at how WhatsApp has adapted itself for the average impatient user — It went from allowing the user to check if their message was sent, to now not just checking if the recipient has received the message, but also blue ticks to check if they have read it.

  2. Limited memory and concentration - People can only hold a small amount of information in their short-term memory, which fades fast. For example, people forget a new password that they’ve just created whereas feeling a new web/mobile app is so easy to use even though they’re interacting with it for the first time.

  3. Analogies and prejudices - During analogy, due to the ‘ Serial Position Effect’ people are most likely to choose the first product they saw. For instance, while ordering food people often compare Swiggy and Zomato. And if they’ve seen Swiggy primarily they are most likely to choose Swiggy over Zomato.

  4. Changes are needed - Yes, change is inevitable. Technology evolves while old ones subside and as a result, users gain experience and new expectations. Consider the rise of Reliance Jio, the telecom company founded in 2016. By providing lower-cost phones and offering consumers free 4G data connections, Jio amassed a huge subscriber base.

  5. Making errors and misjudgment - The Indian copy venture of Adidas i.e. ‘Abibas’ failed miserably in the market for obvious reasons of being a fake brand of the internationally renowned brand.


Despite all the human factors' limitations on UX designers, it allows them to create even better user experiences.

Just like India’s favourite gifting brand, Cadbury Celebrations has rolled out #ShopsForShopless this Diwali, a campaign providing hawkers with a virtual store to sell their products. This is a heartwarming campaign that will promote thousands of hawkers across the country.

At the end, I would like to conclude:

When UX designers turn limitations into opportunities, the human factor isn't so limiting after all.

Common Human Factors That Inform Design

Know about the author

UI/UX Designing is the best place for the two things I am most passionate about - tech and art. Engineer turned self-taught designer who is focused on creating, exploring, and experimenting with user-centric design.

- Kritika Sharma

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