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Anirudh Kedia
Group of friends hugging in person, no face masks.
Photo: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Until there’s a safe and widespread vaccine rollout, the greatest weapons we have against the pandemic are the decisions we make every day. The bad news about this is that humans are notoriously lousy decision-makers.

Why, though? Blame our faulty brains: All of us possess cognitive biases that make it difficult to think rationally when faced with questions involving risk. Should we dine at a restaurant? Is it a good idea to send our kids back to school? Can we safely visit our folks to celebrate Thanksgiving?

While our instincts may be to go with the less-than-optimal choice, we’re not…


  1. : refers to the type of vision that is required for perceiving fine detail, pattern recognition, and object recognition.
  2. : this type of vision is local to the fovea and sometimes referred to as foveal vision.
  3. : when designing visual displays, UX designers need to make sure that users are only required to perform one visual task at a time that involves focal vision because humans can only resolve one visual object into fine detail at a time.

I appreciate the voice navigation feature in Google Maps because that frees up my focal vision to look at my speed or…


*Please read this in conjunction with the article on compensatory displays.

  1. : refers to a type of display designed for tracking tasks where the control is mapped such that pursuit of the target is achieved by moving the control in the direction of movement of the target signal.
  2. : in these displays, users are shown a target signal that the user is supposed to reach with their controls.
  3. : research has shown that users do better with this kind of display than with a compensatory display.

In a first-person shooter game, I had to reduce the difficulty of the game…


*Please read this in conjunction with the article on pursuit displays.

  1. : refers to a type of display designed for tracking tasks where the control is mapped such that pursuit of the target is achieved by moving the control in the opposite (compensatory) direction to the movement of the error cursor on the screen.
  2. : in these displays, instead of a target to be pursued, users are shown an error cursor that is supposed to tell the users how far they are from the target. …

  1. : in UX design, this refers to strong, embedded user tendencies to interact with an interface, control, or machine in a particular way.
  2. : these stereotypical ways of interacting or responding are learned and propagated through years of similar design principles and control mappings.
  3. : some examples of population stereotypes include moving a control upward or rightward to increase the value of an interface element.
  4. : while many stereotypes are intuitive in terms of design principles, many do not have any apparent logic to them. For example, in India and the UK, switches must be flicked down to turn lights…


  1. : refers to a process designed to predict the reliability of a complex human-machine system.
  2. : the objective of HRA is to predict the probability of human error and ultimately reduce the probability as much as possible.
  3. : the process involves a task analysis of the system and subsequent research into the human error probabilities in performing those tasks. Then the ordering of the tasks is seen to determine if the tasks are to be done in parallel or series. If the tasks are to be done in series, then the error probabilities will increase due to compounding.

Human reliability…


  1. : refers to an advantage in terms of decision time and processing when there are fewer complex decisions to make rather than many simple ones.
  2. : this is because there appears to be a fundamental limit to the decision-making rate of about 2.5 decisions/sec.
  3. : UX designers can keep this in mind while designing menus and other such features because this advantage may go against the common heuristic of simplifying everything.

I like shopping on the Nike website because it has broad menus i.e. it displays all the menu options at once rather than shallow, deeper menus. Although the multiple…


  1. : refers to an increase in processing speed and accuracy when two heterogeneous features are mapped to a common response.
  2. : this effect is seen because of a conjunctive effect of two heterogeneous dimensions in our ability to process both.
  3. : UX designers can use heterogeneous features in such a way to increase ease of processing for the user.

Shape and color are two heterogeneous features of a stop sign that are mapped to the same response of stopping the car. A stop sign is always a hexagon and red in color. …


  1. : refers to a cognitive phenomenon wherein the second of two stimuli presented close together in time cannot be detected or identified.
  2. : it is called a ‘blink’ because it is a very short duration of time wherein our attention is inactive similar to how our vision is occluded for a brief moment when we blink.
  3. : UX designers should be careful of this phenomenon because interfaces should not have rapid changes occurring successively because many of them will be missed by the user.

I hate it when two almost simultaneous on-screen notifications arrive together on my Apple watch. I…

Anirudh Kedia

Aviation Geek | Grad student — writing to take a break from writing | Making Human Factors accessible one article at a time

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