Visual Perception User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition


Visual Perception: Concept Definition

Visual perception is the ability to perceive our surroundings through the light that enters our eyes. The visual perception of colors, patterns, and structures has been of particular interest in relation to graphical user interfaces (GUIs) because these are perceived exclusively through vision. An understanding of visual perception therefore enables designers to create more effective user interfaces.

Physiologically, visual perception happens when the eye focuses light on the retina. Within the retina, there is a layer of photoreceptor (light-receiving) cells which are designed to change light into a series of electrochemical signals to be transmitted to the brain. Visual perception occurs in the brain’s cerebral cortex; the electrochemical signals get there by traveling through the optic nerve and the thalamus. The process can take a mere 13 milliseconds, according to a 2017 study at MIT in the United States.

Different attributes of visual perception are widely used in GUI design. Many designers apply Gestalt principles (i.e., how humans structure visual stimuli) to the design of GUIs so as to create interfaces that are easy for users to perceive and understand. The visual perception of affordances (action possibilities in the environment) is another example of how the understanding of visual perception is a critical item in any designer’s toolkit.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Visual Perception. Here’s the full list: