SHORT-TERM MEMORY IS LIMITED
- Don’t ask people to remember information from one place to another, such as reading letters or numbers on one page and then entering them on another page; if you do, they’ll probably forget the information and get frustrated.
- If you ask people to remember things in working memory, don’t ask them to do anything else until they’ve completed that task. Working memory is sensitive to interference—too much sensory input will prevent them from focusing attention.
PEOPLE REMEMBER ONLY FOUR ITEMS AT ONCE
- If you could limit the information you give people to four items, that would actually be a great idea, but you don’t have to be that drastic. You can use more pieces of information as long as you group and chunk.
- Include no more than four items in each chunk.
- Be aware that people tend to use external aids (notes, lists, calendars, appointment books) so they don’t have to rely on memory.
PEOPLE HAVE TO USE INFORMATION TO MAKE IT STICK
- If you want people to remember something, then you have to go over it again and again. Practice really does make perfect.
- One of the major reasons to do user or customer research is so that you can identify and understand the schemata that your particular target audience has.
- If people already have a schema that relates to information that you are providing, make sure you point out what that schema is. It will be easier for them to learn and remember the information if they can plug it into an existing schema.
IT’S EASIER TO RECOGNIZE INFORMATION THAN RECALL IT
- Eliminate memory load whenever possible. Many user interface design guidelines and interface features have evolved over the years to mitigate issues with human memory.
- Try not to require people to recall information. It’s much easier for them to recognize information than recall it from memory.
MEMORY TAKES A LOT OF MENTAL RESOURCES
- Use concrete terms and icons. They will be easier to remember.
- Let people rest (and even sleep) if you want them to remember information.
- Try not to interrupt people if they are learning or encoding information.
- Information in the middle of a presentation will be the least likely to be remembered.
PEOPLE RECONSTRUCT MEMORIES EACH TIME THEY REMEMBER THEM
- If you’re testing or interviewing customers about a product, the words you use can affect greatly what people “remember.”
- Don’t rely on self-reports of past behavior. People will not remember accurately what they or others did or said.
- Take what people say after the fact—when they are remembering using your product, for instance, or remembering the experience of calling your customer service line—with a grain of salt.
IT’S A GOOD THING THAT PEOPLE FORGET
- People are always going to forget.
- What people forget is not a conscious decision.
- Design with forgetting in mind. If some information is really important, don’t rely on people to remember it. Provide it for them in your design, or have a way for them to easily look it up.
THE MOST VIVID MEMORIES ARE WRONG
- If you know that someone had a dramatic or traumatic experience, you need to understand two things: 1. They’ll be convinced that what they remember is true and 2. It isn’t exactly true!
- Remembering traumatic or dramatic events in great detail is called “flashbulb memory.” Emotions are processed in the amygdala, which is very close to the hippocampus, which is involved in the long-term coding of information into memories.
Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.