A cognitive bias is an error in thinking that affects judgments and decision-making. By being aware of the biases, we can mitigate their impact and make more rational, objective decisions.

Here are the top 10 most common cognitive biases in product design:

Confirmation bias

The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports your point of view or values. It leads to a lack of objectivity in decision-making.

Confirmation bias. Image by simplypsychology.

Anchoring bias

The tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. For example, initial user research can set an anchor for product design strategy.

Anchoring bias. Image by scribbr.

False consensus effect

The tendency to assume that your own attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs are more widely shared by others than they actually are. (“Other people think like me”).

False consensus effect. Image by medium.

Bandwagon effect

The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. This is related to groupthink and herd behavior. ( “This design is great because my team thinks it’s great.”)

Bandwagon effect. Image by sketchplanations.

Availability heuristic

A bias where people overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. A person might argue that doing user research is unimportant because they know someone who could release a commercially successful product without doing research.

Availability Heuristic. Image by Sepideh Yazdi.

Dunning-Kruger effect

Individuals with average skills overestimate their ability. It’s the phenomenon where the least competent people often believe they’re the best.

Dunning-Kruger effect. Image by thedecisionlab.

Overconfidence bias

The tendency for someone to be overly confident in their own abilities, such as marketing, prototyping, or coding, than is objectively reasonable. Overconfidence can lead to underestimation of potential risks and neglect of potential problems.

Overconfidence bias. Image by Texas McCombs.

Framing effect

People react differently to a particular choice or decision depending on how it is presented or “framed.” This effect shows how the same information can lead to different conclusions or actions, based purely on the context in which it is presented.

Framing effect. Image by Michael Bunker.

Sunk cost fallacy

This bias refers to the phenomenon where a product creator is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it’s clear that abandonment would be more beneficial. (“This product is my baby.”)

Sunk cost fallacy. Image by Phei-ying-chua

Self-serving bias

The tendency to attribute positive events to your own character but attribute negative events to external factors. It’s common in the case of a team win versus loss. (“We released a successful product because I was in charge of design” vs. “We failed to release a successful product because our team doesn’t understand what good design is”).

Self-serving bias. Image by sketchplanations

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Top 10 Cognitive Biases in Product Design was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.