How Jakob’s Law Influences Financial App Design • Windmill

How Jakob’s Law Influences Financial App Design

Windmill Editorial Team
  • UX & Design

The success of financial app design hinges on a wide range of requirements: usability, functionality, branding considerations, and more. It’s important to get these right, as studies continually prove the link between UX/UI and achieving financial goals. A study by Forrester concluded that a nicely designed UI could boost conversion rates by over 200 percent. 

Fortunately, designers have uncovered various principles that tap into user psychology and make the task more straightforward. One of these principles is called “Jakob’s Law”.  

This blog will discuss how Jakob’s Law influences financial app design.  

What is Jakob’s Law?

Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, is the brain behind Jakob’s Law. Also called the “mere-exposure” effect, the law is related to the notion that people prefer things they are familiar with. 

In social psychology, it is known as the “familiarity principle.” According to Jakob’s Law, users’ expectations about a product shift to another if it seems familiar. In that case, current mental paradigms can be used to create desired user experiences.  

By abiding by psychological principles when creating user interfaces, app developers can have confidence that their users will connect with the UI, which can help designers make choices easily.   

According to Jakob Nielsen:  

“Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.”  

People will find it easier to scroll through an interface if the UX design is similar to the interfaces they’ve used before. A familiar pattern will not only give users a sense of safety and security, but it will also give them the confidence to use the interface seamlessly.

How Jakob’s Law is applied to financial app design  

According to Jakob Nielson:  

“Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen. Instead, they know what will happen based on earlier experience. […] Users form their expectations for your site based on what’s commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate, your site will be harder to use, and users will leave.”  

When you make user interfaces based on past patterns, users can concentrate on finishing the tasks instead of going through the hassle of learning other new patterns. But does applying Jakob’s Law mean your UX will be mundane?  

The simple answer is no.  

Designers can offer users exceptional experiences that rely upon an interface concept that is built from pre-existing patterns, i.e., by making a distinctive design language. Users want specific functionalities of apps to be placed in certain areas. Users tend to search for these features in places they have seen before, which is called a “desire path.” A great way to find users’ desire paths is by using session recording tools. This will help you determine similar underlying patterns.  

Thinking outside the box 

Don’t be afraid to take the leap if you’ve got a good reason/argument to end existing patterns and create new ones. Context is important in user experience design. When we speak of context, we speak of the brand’s product, potential market, and target audience (users). It is essential to understand that each target group has its individual experience compared to the user interface.  

When applying Jakob’s Law, it’s crucial to ensure it’s applicable to the context of your product. User familiarity can be boring and make your app seem mundane. It’s never a wise idea to blindly follow existing patterns. To stand out, dig deeper into such laws and find new concepts to apply alongside the existing patterns.  

If you’re looking for a technique to challenge existing patterns, “Five Whys” can be particularly helpful. It involves asking the “why” five times when it comes to an understanding of a notion or problem solving to arrive at a solution.  


Understanding the complexities of the human mind is part of meeting your target audience’s needs. If you want them to choose your financial app over your competitors’, it’s crucial to ensure your app has optimal functionality and that it meets aesthetic standards. Adhering to Jakob’s Law when designing your financial app interface will not only make it easier for users to interact with, but they’ll feel comfortable doing so too. A sense of familiarity brings a sense of safety, and who doesn’t want that? That being said, it’s also important that your app doesn’t fully replicate another, so don’t shy away from using unique design interface elements or even creating your own—do what resonates with your product and brand best. 

Windmill Digital offers high-quality product design services. Our experts are highly skilled in their field and are experienced in creating exceptional products for our broad range of clients. For more information, contact us here.  

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