Skip to Main Content

Bias-Free Design Resources

Posted on 5.29.2013

The Web world relies heavily on color psychology, which Wikipedia defines as “the study of color as a determinant of human behavior.” It determines the color schemes of websites, calls-to-action, logos and more. Yet, many designers and developers are unfamiliar with other types of psychology affecting their own success, particularly biases. 

Biases can be detrimental to a designer’s creativity, and thus, Web projects in general. Dr. Paul Ralph, who has written extensively on this subject, shared many resources with Website Magazine for his article, "5 Ways Cognitive Biases Kill Your Creativity." And, since we, and likely you, find this topic fascinating, we've detailed those resources, which range from white papers to books to research papers, here:

1. Default Bias

Our tendency to choose the default option and to accept myriad default patterns unconsciously.

Resource: Environments that Make Us Smart, Ecological Rationality by Peter M. Todd and Gerd Gigerenzer

2. Miserly Information Processing

This is our trend to avoid all but the most superficial cognition, which drives us to replicate previous ideas with just simple tweaks. 

Resource: What Intelligent Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith E. Stanovich

3. The Bandwagon Effect

Perhaps the most recognizable, this is a kind of groupthinking, where the desire to adopt something increases as your peers adopt it. 

Resource: Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory by George P. Richardson

4. Design Fixation

Since designers are heavily invested in their work, they can develop this blind adherence to a set of ideas or concepts limiting the output of conceptual design.

Resources: Design Studies by David G. Jansson and Steven M. Smith

5. Confirmation Bias

By paying attention to things that support our ideas, values and beliefs than things that refute them, we develop a Confirmation Bias.

Resources: Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises by Raymond S. Nickerson

6. Status Quo Bias and System Justification

These biases work together to underpin users' irrational resistance to change.

Resource: A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo by John T. Jost, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Brian A. Nosek


Software engineering researchers are developing a host of simple practices for debiasing designers.

Resource: Toward a Theory of Debiasing Software Development by Paul Ralph

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine

Leave Your Comment

Login to Comment

Become a Member

Not already a part of our community?
Sign up to participate in the discussion. It's free and quick.

Sign Up


Leave a comment
    Load more comments
    New code