Mental Models

Your constantly-updated definition of Mental Models and collection of topical content and literature

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Literature on Mental Models

Here’s the entire UX literature on Mental Models by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

All literature

Mental models

Ch 23: Mental models

The proposition that people rely on mental models was first put forward by the Scottish psychologist Kenneth Craik in 1943. In his book The Nature of Exploration (Craik 1943), he wrote that the mind constructs "small-scale models" of reality that it uses to reason, to anticipate events and to underlie explanation. Mental models constructed f...

Book chapter
An Introduction to Usability

An Introduction to Usability

Usability and user experience (UX) are not the same thing: the usability of a product is a crucial part that shapes its UX, and hence falls under the umbrella of UX. While many might think that usability is solely about the “ease of use” of a product, it actually involves a great deal more than that. So, let’s find out more about usability here ...

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  • 2 weeks ago
A Very Useful Work of Fiction – Mental Models in Design

A Very Useful Work of Fiction – Mental Models in Design

Mental models play an important role in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and interaction design. They relate to the way that a user perceives the world around them and are based in belief as opposed to being a factual concept. However, if you can understand your users' mental models, you can simulate these models within your designs to make them...

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  • 1 day ago
How to Design for Ease of Use

How to Design for Ease of Use

Ease of use is something that designers strive for but how can you design for ease-of-use? It’s a common question at the start of projects; “If we’re going to do this well, it will need to satisfy ease-of-use for our customers. What kind of universal metrics can we apply to ensure that the product does just that?”Someone at IBM said; “Ease of us...

  • 212 shares
  • 1 year ago
We Think Therefore It Is – Conceptual Modelling for Mobile Applications

We Think Therefore It Is – Conceptual Modelling for Mobile Applications

A conceptual model is the mental model that people carry of how something should be done. Conceptual modelling can be carried out at a very early point in the design cycle so that there is a basic understanding of how users conceive tasks and this can then be brought to bear on UI design. The ability to sketch conceptual models quickly and easil...

  • 449 shares
  • 2 months ago
Three Common Models of the Brain to Help You Develop Better User Experiences

Three Common Models of the Brain to Help You Develop Better User Experiences

There are many different conceptual models of the brain. It’s important to note that many of them lack any scientific basis – this does not, however, negate the fundamental importance of these models. They are not there to “prove” anything but rather to stimulate creative thought as to how designers (and others) may offer all round stimulation o...

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  • 1 month ago