Research Background and Questions

User Experience (UX) design refers to how a user feels when interacting with a system. It is commonly implied by a certain form of human-computer interaction (HCI) stated Gube, J (2010). Most user-centered design practices and methods are applied to UX design products such as websites, applications, videos, games etc. in order to produce cohesive, well-managed and desirable effects which suits a specific target audience. So how does cognitive psychology come into the picture? First used in 1976 by Ulric Neisser, the term ‘cognitive psychology’ is the branch of psychology which focuses on the way people process information. It looks at how we receive information, and how the treatment of this information leads to our responses. There are certain basic principles in cognitive psychology which revolves around the topics of perception, attention, memory, problem-solving and so on. These topics will be further researched and analyzed in order to carry out its potential and to apply it in designing interactivity.

Donald A. Norman, a well-known author for his books on design, was one of the first to build a bridge between cognitive psychology and interaction design. He mentions in one of his books, The Design of Everyday Things (1988), that great designers produce pleasurable experiences, and fundamental principles of psychology provides a useful framework for understanding human action and interaction design.



  • How does basic cognitive psychology play a significant role in UX design?
  • What can we take away from this research as interactive media designers?
  • How can interactive media designers apply these theories to future projects and design with psychology in mind?


Research Scope and Concepts

For this assignment, the research scope will be narrowed down to understand the brief background in cognitive psychology which is enough for interactive designers to understand human capabilities and limitations. Johnson (2012) mentions that there is little practicality in breaking down and going through every psychological principle which relates to design, but understanding the key concepts can be a powerful gateway to great design.

Norman (1988) states that cognitive thoughts lead to emotions, while emotions drive cognitive thoughts. Personally, I believe it’s incredibly fascinating and infuriating at the same time to fall in love with design and not being able to comprehend why we like or dislike certain things. Why are people intrigued by parallax websites? Why do we understand the simple icons in our smartphones? These are the kinds of questions that will be discussed in the paper, and the reason for analyzing these theories is to acknowledge the many principles which exists behind user experience design, so that we are able to bring more logic into the creative process of interactive media design.


Research Outcome and Relevance

This paper aims to cover basic psychology principles which will provide grounding for interactive media designers to further improve their skills and techniques. The proposed research paper is relevant to the industry field as interactive media is growing rapidly in today’s generation. As designers, it is crucial to recognize these basic psychology principles which goes behind UX design in order to thoroughly understand the diversity in users’ behaviors and preferences while still being able to meet each user’s needs to the fullest.


Research Feasibility and Ethics

Being in the interactive media field, psychology theories have not been touched upon before which will be quite a challenge and requires more research in order to support this paper. However, these challenges will be beneficial in the learning process of this module and the outcome of future projects. There are no ethical concerns for this proposed research paper as it is a degree research essay which is articulated and supported through the reference of existing works and artefacts.



Reference list


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