The laws of Physics in UX: what can we be taught by cartoons and video games?

Should the interface simulate the real world and follow exactly the laws of physics? Or can they be derogated from in the name of users’ interests? Today’s article will help us to answer these questions.


Summary: In this insightful article, the investigation about how the laws of physics can be applied to UX design, drawing inspiration from cartoons and video games. The piece discusses five key principles: anticipation and feedback, squash and stretch, consistency and realism, timing and pacing, and the power of sound. By understanding and implementing these concepts, designers can create more engaging, immersive, and enjoyable user experiences that resonate with users on a deeper level.

Credits to Toptal

As UX designers, we are constantly looking for inspiration and ideas to improve the user experience in our projects. One surprising source of valuable lessons can be found in cartoons and video games. These mediums have mastered the art of creating engaging, interactive, and immersive experiences by leveraging the laws of physics. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the key principles from these worlds and explore how they can be applied to UX design.

1. Anticipation and Feedback:

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Cartoons and video games often use anticipation to build excitement and engage the audience. Similarly, in UX design, providing feedback through visual cues, animations, and transitions can create a more engaging and intuitive user experience. By anticipating user actions and providing appropriate feedback, designers can create a more seamless interaction between users and the digital product.

2. The Principle of Squash and Stretch:

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In animation, the squash and stretch principle is used to create a sense of weight and flexibility in characters and objects. This technique can be applied to UX design as well, by incorporating animations that give a sense of fluidity and responsiveness. This can help make UI elements feel more natural and intuitive, improving the overall user experience.

3. Consistency and Realism:

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Both cartoons and video games maintain a consistent visual style and adhere to the established laws of their worlds. This consistency is crucial in UX design as well, as it helps build trust and familiarity with users. By maintaining a consistent visual language, UI elements, and interactions, designers can create a cohesive and immersive experience for users.

4. Timing and Pacing:

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The pacing and timing of animations play a significant role in creating engaging experiences in cartoons and video games. UX designers can apply these principles by using animations and transitions that are well-timed and appropriately paced. This helps create a smoother and more enjoyable user experience.

5. The Power of Sound:

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Sound design is a crucial aspect of creating immersive experiences in cartoons and video games. In UX design, sound can be used to provide feedback, emphasize important actions, or create a more engaging atmosphere. Designers should consider incorporating sound into their projects in a thoughtful and meaningful way to enhance the user experience.

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