mental model is what a user thinks they know about how to use a website, mobile phone, or other digital product.
That’s why understanding users’ existing mental models is essential when designing a new UI.
Competitor research is valuable because it enables you to see the way competitors’ systems are designed and infer what users are comfortable with as a result.
UIs to understand what they have in common and what they do differently can help you understand where it makes sense to conform to existing design solutions and where you might be able to innovate.
Our mental models can evolve and expand.
nstructions, tutorials, and demos
Understanding the way your system works with users’ mental models enables designers to create more intuitive and satisfying user experiences
user testing can help uncover any discrepancies between a user’s mental models and the way a UI works
If you’re changing the way an existing product works, you can slowly roll the changes out over time or alert users to the coming change and let them decide when to make the switch.
Understanding users’ mental models will help you get an idea of what users will expect from the system when you’re planning your project’s UX.
mental models are subjective
if users repeatedly overlook a vital button because of its placement, move the button to the place they look for it.
Creating mental models in our heads for anything and everything makes a lot of sense. Mental models prevent us from having to figure things out from scratch every time we have a new experience.
“what the user believes about the system at hand.”
By referring to what they already know from their past interactions with another weather app, for example, the user can streamline their interactions with a new weather app.
As long as the new app more or less matches the interaction patterns and information architecture of a familiar app, the user will quickly become comfortable with the new weather app.
If you don’t adhere to user’s existing mental models, there will be a mismatch between the user’s idea of how a product will work and the way it actually works. This mismatch can cause all sorts of problems because it will lead to user frustration, and often, users will abandon your app or website, or decide against buying your mobile phone or tablet.
For example, if a person is going to a new website to buy something, they will have a mental model of how the check out experience on the new website will work based on their past experiences with online shopping.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.