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UX Tip #92 How we use schemas to interpret & organise information

What do you think of when you see the Apple logo?

Does an iPhone, MacBook or iTunes come to mind?

The natural tendency to associate the "Apple" logo with its products demonstrate our schema - a mental framework for interpreting and organising information.


Schemas are mental shortcuts to help us focus on the most meaningful and relevant parts of our experiences. Once a schema is formed, it is hard to change, and people tend to ignore information that doesn't match their existing framework.

Therefore, when we are designing websites, it is important to understand users' expectations and the schemas they have created in relation to the topic, brand or product. Otherwise, a higher level of attention will be required when using the website making it seem difficult to use.

Also, being aware of our own schemas when conducting user research is important as we may have a predefined opinion of participants and expect a certain behaviour from them.

We need to be mindful to be as neutral as possible during the research to get the most authentic data from participants.

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