Best Practices Psychology

Serial Position Effect by Patrick Pentz on July 31, 2019

1 Min Read

Summary

People tend to remember the first and last items in a sequence which is known as the serial position effect. The term was coined by Herman Ebbinghaus, a psychologist and pioneer of memory research, which describes how the position of an item in a series affects memory. In user experience design, designers commonly utilize the serial position effect for determining the position of items in navigation elements, website indexes, and sales landing pages.

Takeaway

Consider placing the least important items in the middle of a list and position key actions on the far left and right to increase user memorization. For example, a website's main navigation bar usually consists of a logo on the far left to represent the home page and a user account avatar to the far right corner with access to the account-related task, such as logging out. By positioning key elements in this way, users are more likely to remember the company’s logo, recall how to get back to the home page, and quickly access their account for signing out.

The Serial Position Effect: Why ABC and XYZ stand out the most among all the alphabets.

Serial Position Effect: How to Create Better User Interfaces