Hick’s Law

Added on April 20, 2020 - Category:

Hick’s Law (or Hick-Hyman) is one of the fundamental laws in user experience based on Information Theory that Shannon and Weaver developed in the 1940s. It can be simplified as:

The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of the options.

And it can be formulated as:

T = b · log 2 (n + 1)

where T is the reaction time, b is an empirically measured constant and n is the number of options.

Although this law is one of the most easily demonstrable, it does not apply in all cases:

Exceptions to Hick’s law have been identified in studies of verbal response to familiar stimuli, where there is no relationship or only a subtle increase in reaction time associated with a greater number of elements, (Longstreth, LE; El-Zahhar, N . – 1985) and saccadic responses, where it was shown that there is no relationship, (Kveraga, K .; Boucher, L .; Hughes, HC – 2002) or a decrease in saccadic time with increasing number of elements, by therefore an effect antagonistic to that postulated by Hick’s law

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