Please enable JS

a blog about the links between ux design and cognitive sciences.



november 26/ux design, cognitions

Today, I’m gonna write about another part of the memory capacity that every designer should know (and particularly dashboard designers) by tackling the self-generation effect.

What is the self-generation effect ?

Information is better remembered when it is self-generated — not just passively consumed. If a user can customise the layout of the interface, it is easier for him to become familiar with it and remember the details. According to the lexical activation hypothesis, this effect would come from the involvement of the semantic memory.

If you want your users to have better recall every time they log in to your app, or have a better experience every time they play the game you designed, then you may want to encourage them to set up (or self-generate) components of the product on their own.

For instance permitting users to customize their dashboards can enhance recall of item locations and save time through personalization of the display structure. So UX designer should exploit cognitive biases like the self-generation effect to improve the user experience.

In the app Sketch designers can choose functions and customise the upper toolbar to a desired preference.

Microsoft Word gives users the ability to create, modify and save different word formats and styles. This reflects an understanding of the self-generation effect on the part of the designer.


  • Interaction Design Foundation: The Self-Generation Effect: How to Create More Memorable User Interfaces