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How Miller’s Law Can Help You Improve Your Product and Brand Experience - An Exercise

The Tribe
May 16, 2020

Strong communication is not only integral in building relationships but in building seamless product experiences, as well. To communicate clearly and succinctly, one must be organized. However, when it comes to organization, there’s a single rule of thumb every brand and every person should (but often don’t) cohere to in order to create content that speaks directly to their tribes. It’s how one builds influence and influence drives leads. To illustrate this phenomenon, I’m going to ask that you take part in a little exercise - you’ll need a pen and paper.

Step 1

Read the italicized instructions before you begin:For this exercise, you’ll need to set aside a pen and paper. Below, there is a list of 20 words. You’re going to try to commit these words to memory, without writing them down. Give yourself about a minute. After you’re finished reading these words scroll down until you see the word “STOP”. Then, you can read step 2.

------------- STOP ------------

Step 2:

Now, let’s see how many of these words have been committed to memory. Without scrolling back up, give yourself about half a minute towrite down as many words as you can remember from above. Once you’ve finished writing them all down, scroll back up to assess how many you got correct.If you’re like most people, you probably guessed between 5 and 9 of the words correctly.

The Magic Number

According to Miller’s law as it’s explained at, the average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2 items) in their working memory. This is what leads us to the process of “chunking” -- a very useful method for presenting content in groups of 5 to 9 items at a time (preferably 5). This amount is the most digestible for a reader and most essential to your brand when it comes to driving conversions. While this law has been universally applied, it bears an immense weight on what goes into cultivating an exceptional user experience (UX).

Minimalism is Key

Organize all your elements of information in categories or chunks of no more than 9. If you can parse it down to 5, even better. Plenty of big-name brands break this rule daily-- it’s an easy trap to fall into when creating content --but I haven’t seen a moment in time in which this wasn’t completely detrimental to an experience. It’s due to the fact that, as products and brands become more feature-full, they consistently become more difficult to navigate. This has happened with Facebook, Google, and plenty of automotive brands. However, committing to a “less is more” attitude will only elevate your brand and create more ease of use for your tribe.Another element of Miller’s findings are the primacy and recency effect. These terms are used to describe how we remember items we’ve seen, felt or heard at the beginning or end of an experience, more often than in the middle. This is also referred to as the serial position effect. So, if I were to present something to you, you’d probably remember how I started and how I finished, more than anything else.This raises many questions in business and UX. When does an experience end? How does one mitigate the negative impacts of an experience and highlight the positives? When you work with Tribu, this is something we prioritize and troubleshoot together, as a tribe and for your brand’s tribe. We’re constantly looking for new ways to mitigate these sorts of challenges for and with our partners. Fill out our form on our contact page and start your journey with us today.*If you’re interested in learning more about User Experience design, I’d suggest diving deeper into Jeff Davidson’s content on Medium.

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