What is Jakob’s Law? – The Psychology of Design (4/7)
Jakob’s Law: “Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know”.
The most successful websites standardise their design and work very similarly to the most commonly used websites out there. I’m going to safely bet that in the last few websites you used, the majority of them have the company logo in the top left corner and clicking it will take you to the homepage. This is one of the most common parts of a website, you will need to have a very good reason to change where its placed and how it works.
Unless you’ve set out to reinvent the wheel, I’d recommend adhering to Jacob’s Law and standardising traditional components throughout your website design. The Law reminds us that users will transfer expectations they have built around one common product to another that appears related. Therefore, we can use existing mental paradigms to build preferred user experiences.
What a badly designed site will do is antagonise your user, breaking the synergy they have with the brand and likely ending the relationship entirely. One thing to make clear is that following Jakob’s Law when designing a User Experience doesn’t mean your site will have to resemble the look and feel of every other site. It’s a fine line to design along, but great creatives can do exceptional work while still adhering to a common language.