How do we perceive design

Perception, for designers, is such an important thing. As designers, we attempt to shape perception to create loyalty or drive sales.

But why do users like what they like? What is it about a design that appeals to samasitu and ultimately motivates them to revisit or buy something?

Perception Flow
Perception Flow: 1. Stimulus, 2. Lenses, 3. Opinion, 4. Action
Signals and Senses

It all starts with a signal. As humans, we have 5 typical senses that collect signals or stimulus.


We could argue there are three key factors that either heighten or lower the level of strength for these signals.

Stimulus Strength Controls

  1. Environmental
    (How the sense is presented in the given environment).

Sight: contrast and clarity
Sound: low/high volume, tone, frequency
Smell: subtle or strong
Touch: smooth, sharp, flexible, brittle
Taste: texture, strong, subtle
Web designers and graphic designers will primarily focus on sight. Sound and touch may also be considered to enhance the design or for reasons relating to accessibility.

  1. Ability

A user’s ability to receive key senses relative to their physical health. For example, the loss of a sense or a physical defect will affect the sensitivity level.

  1. Historical and Learnt Perception

Historical perception is a broad spectrum. Users may possess a hypersensitivity in one area due to historical lessons and formed memories. For example, A user that has lost sight may have developed more reliant sensitivity through another sense.

The 5 senses are clear. Once a message has been received, the user can either acknowledge or ignore the stimulus and determine a suitable response.