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Hick’s Law (Streamlining Decision-Making) 3 Best Tips

Written By Zainab Aftab | Last Modified On April 22, 2024

Welcome to our insightful guide on streamlining user decision-making through the power of Hick’s Law! In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, where users are bombarded with countless options and distractions, making efficient decisions has become challenging.

However, by understanding and applying Hick’s Law, we can empower ourselves to create seamless and intuitive experiences that captivate and convert users. In this article, we will delve into the best tips for leveraging the law of Hick to optimize your website, app, or digital product, enhancing user satisfaction and ultimately driving success. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to simplifying decision-making processes and creating engaging experiences that keep users coming back for more!

What Does Hick’s Law State?

Imagine this: you’re faced with many choices at an online clothing shop, and your brain starts to feel perplexed by the maze of possibilities. Enter Hick’s Law, a powerful principle that unveils the secret behind our reaction times when confronted with various options.

So, what is Hick’s Law? In simple terms, it states that the more choices we have, the longer it takes us to decide. It’s similar to a mental traffic jam, in which our brains require extra time to understand and negotiate several alternatives. Understanding and utilizing Hick’s Law, whether designing a website, making an app, or creating a product, enables us to optimize user experiences by reducing superfluous complexity and guiding consumers toward clear, actionable options.

Learn about Gestalt’s law of symmetry!

Relation Between Hick’s Law and UX Design

The relationship between Hick’s Law and UX design is critical and should not be neglected. Hicks Law states, “The more options users have, the longer it takes them to decide.” Overwhelming users with too many alternatives in UX design can hinder their decision-making process and lead to frustration.

UX designers can apply Hick’s Law to simplify interfaces, minimize cognitive load, and direct users toward their desired actions. It’s a useful principle that contributes to better user experiences by making them more efficient and user-friendly. Understanding the relationship between Hicks Law and UX design is critical for building intuitive interfaces that satisfy users’ needs.

Applications of Hick’s Law in UX

Hick’s Law finds practical applications in various UI/UX design aspects, enhancing user experiences and facilitating decision-making. Let’s explore some key areas where the principles of this Law can be effectively applied:

  • Navigation Menus
  • Terms of Service
  • Forms
  • Homepages
  • Pricing Pages

1- Navigation Menus

When creating navigation menus, minimizing the number of alternatives can boost user engagement dramatically. Users may easily locate what they’re looking for by offering a simple and well-organized menu, minimizing cognitive strain, and improving the overall user experience.

2- Terms of Service

Long and complicated Terms of Service agreements might be intimidating to users. UX designers can apply Hick’s Law to divide these agreements into manageable portions, use clear headings, and provide summaries to increase comprehension and ensure users make educated decisions.

3- Forms

Long and confusing forms may put consumers off completing them. Designers may make forms more user-friendly and encourage completion by simplifying form fields, employing progressive disclosure strategies, and breaking the process down into smaller phases.

4- Homepages

Hick’s Law can be used to create homepage layouts. Designers can direct users to their desired activities and prevent decision fatigue by focusing on a clear and concise message or highlighting crucial features.

5- Pricing Pages

When it comes to pricing pages, giving users too many options might be overwhelming. Designers can use Hick’s Law to offer price plans in a streamlined and aesthetically appealing manner, emphasizing the most popular or suggested options and decreasing the cognitive effort necessary to select.

Best Design Tips: How to Effectively Use Hick’s Law?

There are numerous essential design tips to remember while implementing Hick’s Law in UX design strategy. Let’s dive into these tips and see how they can improve user experiences:

  1. Reduce Choices for Quickly Needed Tasks
  2. Make Complex Processes Easier by Breaking Down
  3. Highlight Important Recommendations

Reduce Choices for Quickly Needed Tasks

Limiting options for tasks that demand fast action or swift decision-making is important. Designers can assist consumers in making more effective selections and avoid the possibility of analysis paralysis by providing them with only the most relevant and critical options. Streamlining options for time-sensitive jobs increases the likelihood of user involvement and completion on time.

Make Complex Processes Easier by Breaking Down

Hick’s Law can be employed when dealing with complex procedures, such as multi-step forms or elaborate workflows, by breaking the process down into smaller, manageable pieces. By directing users through easier decision points, designers can lessen cognitive overload and simplify the process. Clear progress indicators, step-by-step directions, and visual cues can help users understand and feel more confident along the journey.

Highlight Important Recommendations

It is also imperative to highlight crucial recommendations or preferred options to facilitate decision-making and direct users toward preferred choices. Designers can call attention to and help consumers focus on the most desirable options by visually emphasizing these options through design features such as color, size, or positioning. This strategy simplifies decision-making and gives consumers a sense of direction and confidence, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.

Examples of Hick’s Law in UX Design

Now you know the concept of Hick’s law and why it is important in UX design. Let’s look at two examples of using this law by the most popular companies in the world.

Google HomePage

Imagine using Google’s search engine, ready to type in a keyword and find the information you need. Ever noticed how Google keeps it clean and simple? Well, that’s because they understand the power of Hick’s Law. Google knows that the more choices or distractions they present, the longer users can enter their keywords and get results.

So, they’ve cleverly eliminated any extra content or options that could sidetrack you from your search. They want you to focus solely on typing that keyword, making it smooth and straightforward. By reducing the number of decisions you have to make, Google ensures a fast and efficient search experience. So, next time you use Google, take a moment to appreciate how they use Hick’s Law to streamline your search and get you the results you need in a snap!

Slack Onboarding

Slack takes a smart approach to onboarding by applying Hick’s Law. Instead of bombarding users with a fully loaded app right from the start, they introduce a friendly bot to guide users through the messaging feature. By doing this, Slack minimizes the overwhelming feeling that new users often experience when faced with many features.

They keep things simple by hiding all other features except messaging input, allowing users to focus solely on learning to message via the Slackbot. Once users have grasped the messaging basics, Slack gradually reveals additional features, ensuring a smooth and progressive learning curve.

By following this approach, Slack makes the onboarding process more user-friendly, reducing decision fatigue and empowering users to explore and master the app at their own pace. It’s a thoughtful way to engage users and ensure they feel confident and comfortable as they delve deeper into Slack’s capabilities.

Use Hick’s Law to Your Full Benefit!

Unlock the full potential of Hick’s Law and harness its power to create exceptional user experiences. Understanding and applying Hicks Law in your design process can optimize decision-making, reduce cognitive load, and captivate your users. Streamline your user interfaces, simplify choices for quick tasks, and break down complex processes into manageable steps. Emphasize important recommendations, guide users towards desired actions, and make their journey intuitive and seamless.

Remember that limiting down options for time-sensitive jobs, breaking down complex processes, and emphasizing key recommendations are all tactics that can help simplify decision-making, improve user happiness, and generate effective outcomes.


What is meant by the hick effect?

The Hick effect refers to the principle that the time it takes for a person to make a decision increases with the number of choices available.

What is the reaction time of Hick’s law?

Hick’s Law states that a person’s reaction time increases logarithmically with the number of choices they make. The more options presented, the longer it takes to make a decision.