Beyond Pretty

Taking Design Beyond the Basics to Create Richer User Experiences

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It's Just Eileen | Sidetrack Studio

Hello There

its just eileen, I'm a design engineer creating user experiences and interfaces in WordPress. I'm a customer success engineer with the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin and a partner and founder with Sidetrack Studio and wpBlockShop where we take WordPress beyond the blog creating block-based solutions for organizations and products.



Exceptional user experiences are part of a rich study of psychological principles that are more than pretty pictures.

  • Hick's Law
  • Zeigarnik Effect
  • Gestalt Principles
  • Serial Position Effect
  • Miller's Law

what is design

Not Pretty Pictures
book cover


Design is concerned with how things work, how they are controlled, and the nature of the interaction between people and technology.



I like to say, design solves problems.


“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good design fits our needs so well that the design is invisible, serving us without drawing attention to itself. Bad design, on the other hand, screams out its inadequacies, making itself very noticeable.”

Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

Good design gets out of the way

These five principles can help us move our WordPress products #beyondpretty.

Hick's Law

hick's law states
The time it takes for a person to make a decision depends on the choices available.
hick's law states
As the number of choices increases, the time to make a decision also increases.


Categorizing choices

Limiting choices

navigation example

Zeigarnik Effect

zeigarnik effect states
People remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.


Use progress bars for complex tasks to visually indicate when a task is incomplete, and thus increase the likelihood it will be completed.
onboarding example

Gestalt Principles

gestalt principles
Describe how humans typically see objects by grouping similar elements, recognizing patterns and simplifying complex images.







Common Region




Serial Position Effect

serial position effect states
Users have a propensity to best remember the first and last items in a series.


Include Cues in the User Interface

Maintain Task-relevant Information within the User Interface

Emphasize Key Information in the Beginning and End

Limit the Amount of Recall Required

serial position example

Miller's Law

miller's law states
The average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory.


Break down large bands of information into manageable bites.

for example

plugin admin view

Good design is more than just "seen" it is experienced and is an integral part of the engineering process.

Thank You

- Design Journal
- Github

Beyond Pretty

Design is not about pretty pictures,
it's about solving problems.

itsjusteileen ❘ WordCamp Europe 2020