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  • Writer's pictureJP Favre

Miller's Law the magic number in UX

Hello there, my dear fellow designers and data enthusiasts! Today, we're going to talk about Miller's Law in dashboarding. Now, before you start thinking that Miller's Law is a new way to brew beer, let me assure you that it's much more exciting than that (although, I must admit, beers are pretty great and i am not saying this because i had the pleasure to live eight years in Belgium).


So far, i did not include Miller’s law in my list of UX laws to tackkle when dealing with dashboards, however, i keep having plenty of examples around me with “overloaded” dashboard so i think it is time for me take care of Miller :)





Miller's Law is a principle that states that the human brain can only hold a certain amount of information in its working memory at once. And let's face it, as designers, we've all been guilty of trying to cram as much information as humanly possible into a dashboard. But at the end of the day, our brains just can't handle it all. Well, i say “as designer” but i also see lot of clients trying to fit as many information as they can in a very limited screen…


Miller's Law asserts that the immediate memory span of people is limited to approximately seven items, plus or minus two

So let’s see what are the impacts of Miller’s law on dashboard design


Understanding Miller's Law


Miller's Law, also known as the "magic number seven plus or minus two," is a principle that states that the average human can only hold between five and nine pieces of information in their working memory at any given time. This means that when designing a dashboard, it is crucial to simplify and organize the information presented to users. Well, quite easy to say… but when you are facing a client and trying to negotiate the number of visuals…. it is another story i can tell.


 


1. Simplification

To apply Miller's Law to dashboard design, it is essential to simplify and organize the information presented to users. The designer must prioritize which data is essential and exclude any extraneous information. This ensures that the dashboard provides relevant information at a glance without overwhelming the user. To simplify the dashboard, i usually use the Dashboard Model Canvas in order to make sure that we focus on the value proposition




Focus on your Audience and do not send them too many messages

 


2. Visual Hierarchy

Another important consideration in dashboard design is visual hierarchy. By using visual cues such as color, size, and typography, the designer can draw attention to the most critical information. This allows users to quickly identify the most important information and navigate the dashboard more efficiently.



Our new sales report, amazing no ?

 


3. Grouping and Organizing Data

Grouping related information together can help users process information more efficiently and improve their ability to recall information later. Visual aids such as charts and graphs can also be helpful in organizing data and reducing cognitive load. ahhh cognitive load another very good theme that we will tacckle in the coming weeks.



Organize information, same topic same place in your dashboard.

 


Conclusion


In conclusion, Miller's Law is a fundamental principle that every designer should keep in mind when designing a dashboard.


So, what does this mean for us? Well, it means we need to be smart about how we design our dashboards. We need to prioritize the information that's most important and present it in a way that's easy to digest. In other words, we need to design dashboards that even our grandpas can understand (no offense to grandpas out there, you guys are awesome).


Have a great week.

JP

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