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Tesler's Law in UX Design

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Tesler's law
  3. Simplicty in UX design
  4. Benefits of Tesler's Law in UX design
  5. Conclusion


In the ever-evolving world of user experience (UX) design, simplicity and ease of use have become fundamental principles. One of the most influential concepts that guide UX designers in creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces is Tesler's Law. Coined by the late Larry Tesler, a pioneering computer scientist, Tesler's Law emphasizes the importance of simplicity and reducing cognitive load in design. In this article at OpenGenus, we will explore Tesler's Law in UX design and understand how it can enhance the overall user experience.

Understanding Tesler's Law

Tesler's Law, also known as the "Law of Conservation of Complexity," states that "for any system, there is a certain amount of complexity that cannot be reduced." In other words, the complexity inherent in a system remains constant and cannot be eliminated entirely. However, Tesler's Law highlights that this complexity can be shifted from the user to the designer, resulting in a simpler and more intuitive user experience.

The essence of Tesler's Law lies in reducing cognitive load and empowering users to focus on their tasks without unnecessary distractions. By transferring the burden of complexity from the user to the designer, the aim is to create interfaces that require minimal effort and enable users to achieve their goals efficiently.

Simplicity in UX Design

Simplicity is a key tenet of UX design, and it is essential for creating delightful user experiences. When applying Tesler's Law, UX designers strive to streamline interfaces by eliminating extraneous features and minimizing cognitive demands. By doing so, they aim to create designs that are self-explanatory, intuitive, and require minimal training.

Here are some principles derived from Tesler's Law that help designers simplify the user experience:

  1. Remove unnecessary elements: Designers should identify and eliminate any elements or features that do not contribute directly to the user's primary goals. By reducing visual clutter, users can focus on the essential aspects of the interface.
  2. Provide clear and concise instructions: Instructions should be straightforward and easily understandable. Avoid using technical jargon or complicated language that might confuse or overwhelm users.
  3. Embrace familiarity and consistency: Leveraging familiar design patterns and conventions enables users to rely on their existing knowledge and mental models when interacting with an interface. Consistency in design elements, such as navigation and labeling, reduces the cognitive load associated with learning new interactions.
  4. Prioritize essential information: Displaying the most critical information prominently while hiding secondary details until needed helps users quickly grasp the core functionality of an interface. Progressive disclosure is a technique that allows users to access additional information progressively, avoiding information overload.
  5. Strive for efficiency: Designers should aim to reduce the number of steps or interactions required to complete a task. Minimizing user effort enhances usability and satisfaction.

Benefits of Tesler's Law in UX Design:

Implementing Tesler's Law in UX design yields several benefits for both users and designers:

  1. Enhanced usability: By reducing complexity and cognitive load, UX designers can create interfaces that are easy to understand and navigate. Users can accomplish tasks more efficiently, leading to a smoother and more satisfying experience.
  2. Increased user satisfaction: A simplified user experience contributes to higher user satisfaction. When users can achieve their goals effortlessly, they are more likely to perceive the product or service positively.
  3. Improved learnability: With a focus on simplicity, interfaces become more intuitive and require minimal learning efforts. This benefit is particularly crucial in today's fast-paced digital landscape, where users often lack the time or patience for complex onboarding processes.
  4. Time and cost savings: Simpler designs result in reduced development and maintenance efforts. By adhering to Tesler's Law, designers can streamline the design and development process, saving time and resources.


Tesler's Law serves as a guiding principle in UX design, emphasizing the importance of simplicity and reducing cognitive load. By transferring complexity from users to designers, interfaces can be streamlined to provide intuitive experiences that are easy to learn, efficient to use, and delightful for users. Embracing Tesler's Law empowers designers to create interfaces that prioritize the needs and goals of the users, ultimately leading to enhanced usability and increased user satisfaction.

Tesler's Law in UX Design
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