April 26, 2024
min read

Redesigning UX for SaaS Adoption: Von Restorff Effect

Discover the Von Restorff Effect's Impact on UX/UI Design. Learn how leveraging the isolation effect that suggests that when multiple similar items are presented together with one distinct item that stands out, people are more likely to remember the distinct item can enhance user engagement, with real examples from top platforms. Redefine your SaaS adoption strategy today

Written by

Marc Chia

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital solutions, the success of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms relies heavily on user experience (UX) design. A well-crafted UX can mean the difference between a thriving adoption rate and a lackluster user base. One psychological principle that holds great potential for enhancing SaaS adoption is the Von Restorff Effect. This cognitive phenomenon, when applied thoughtfully to UX/UI design, can significantly improve user engagement and retention. In this article, we'll delve into what the Von Restorff Effect is, explore its applications in UX/UI design, and provide real-world examples of its implementation.

Understanding the Von Restorff Effect:

The Von Restorff Effect, also known as the isolation effect, is a psychological phenomenon that suggests that when multiple similar items are presented together with one distinct item that stands out, people are more likely to remember the distinct item. This effect was first observed by German psychiatrist and pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff in the early 1930s. The principle behind this effect lies in the brain's tendency to prioritize and allocate more attention to novel or unique stimuli, making them more memorable in the process.

Applying the Von Restorff Effect to UX/UI Design:

In the realm of UX/UI design, the Von Restorff Effect can be leveraged to create a more engaging and memorable user experience. By strategically incorporating elements that stand out from the rest of the interface, designers can guide users' attention, encourage interaction, and enhance overall usability.

  1. Color and Contrast: One of the most straightforward ways to apply the Von Restorff Effect is through the use of color and contrast. By selecting a dominant color and using a contrasting color for call-to-action buttons or important notifications, designers can draw users' attention to specific elements that require action. For instance, if your SaaS platform features a clean and minimalistic interface, a vibrant and distinct color can be used for buttons, making them pop and enticing users to click.
  2. Typography: Varying the typography within a design can also create a visually striking effect. By utilizing a different font style, size, or color for key headings or essential information, designers can ensure that these elements stand out and are more likely to be remembered by users. This can be particularly useful for highlighting important messages or instructions during onboarding processes.
  3. Animation and Motion: Incorporating subtle animations or dynamic elements that deviate from the overall static design can captivate users' attention. A well-timed animation can draw focus to specific areas of the screen and guide users through the interface. For example, when introducing a new feature in your SaaS application, consider using a distinctive animation to highlight its presence and functionality.

Examples of Von Restorff Effect in Action:

Let's take a look at a few real-world examples of how the Von Restorff Effect has been effectively applied to SaaS platforms' UX/UI design:

  1. Slack: The popular communication platform Slack employs the Von Restorff Effect through its use of color and contrast. In the predominantly neutral interface, the bright blue color of unread messages and notifications stands out, catching users' attention and prompting them to engage with the platform.
  2. Trello: Trello, a project management tool, utilizes the isolation effect to emphasize task statuses. The use of bold colors for different task labels against a neutral background ensures that users can easily identify and focus on specific tasks they need to address.
  3. Asana: Asana, another project management software, leverages the Von Restorff Effect through typography. Important task titles or deadlines are often displayed in a larger font size or a different font style, making them stand out from the rest of the text and aiding users in prioritization.
  4. Mailchimp: The email marketing platform Mailchimp employs animation to highlight key features and functionalities. When introducing new tools or updates, they often use playful animations that capture users' attention and guide them through the changes.


The Von Restorff Effect offers a valuable psychological insight into designing user-centric SaaS platforms. By strategically implementing design elements that stand out from the surrounding interface, SaaS companies can improve user engagement, facilitate adoption, and enhance overall user satisfaction. As technology continues to advance, harnessing cognitive principles like the Von Restorff Effect will remain a powerful strategy for creating compelling and effective UX/UI designs that drive SaaS adoption to new heights.

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