The Power of Mental Models and Mentorship in User Experience and Startups


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 04, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Mental Models and Mentorship in User Experience and Startups


In the world of user experience (UX) and startups, understanding the factors that drive user behavior and foster success is crucial. This article explores the concepts of mental models and mentorship, and how they influence our decision-making processes and shape our experiences. By delving into these topics, we can uncover valuable insights that can be applied to both UX design and startup culture.

Recurring Events and Sense of Belonging:

Recurring events have a profound impact on our engagement and sense of belonging. Whether it's an annual conference, a weekly meetup, or a monthly subscription service, the anticipation and sustained interest created by these events keep us hooked. The familiarity and regularity of these experiences make it easier for us to recognize and connect with them. As UX designers and startup founders, incorporating recurring events or features into our products or services can foster a deeper sense of engagement and loyalty among our users or customers.

Breaking Down Complex Activities:

Complex activities can often overwhelm users and hinder their ability to take action. However, by breaking down these activities into smaller, manageable tasks, we can increase the likelihood of user engagement. When faced with a daunting task, providing users with clear steps and a sense of progress can motivate them to take action. By incorporating this approach into UX design or startup operations, we can empower users or employees to tackle complex challenges with confidence and ease.

Reciprocity and Gift-Giving:

The act of reciprocation plays a significant role in our decision-making processes. When we receive a gift or favor, we feel a natural inclination to reciprocate. This psychological phenomenon can be leveraged in UX design and startup strategies. By offering valuable resources, exclusive access, or personalized experiences to users or customers, we can tap into their innate desire to reciprocate. This can lead to increased engagement, loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing.

Following Patterns and Familiarity:

In unfamiliar situations, we often seek guidance from others who have gone through similar experiences. This tendency to follow the patterns of similar others can be a powerful tool in UX design and startup growth. By incorporating familiar elements or interfaces, we can create a sense of comfort and ease for users. Similarly, in the startup world, studying the successes and failures of similar companies can provide valuable insights for our own growth and decision-making processes.

The Power of Familiarity:

Familiarity breeds preference. We tend to develop a preference for things simply because we are familiar with them. This concept holds true in both UX design and startups. By consistently exposing users or customers to our brand, product, or service, we can cultivate a sense of familiarity and trust. This can lead to increased user adoption, customer retention, and brand loyalty. Incorporating familiar design elements, language, or branding can help create a seamless and intuitive user experience.

Engagement through Action and Modification:

We are naturally drawn to situations where our actions have a tangible impact on subsequent results. This engagement through action and modification is a powerful motivator. In UX design, creating interactive elements or providing real-time feedback can enhance user engagement and satisfaction. In the startup world, involving employees in decision-making processes and allowing them to see the direct impact of their actions can foster a sense of ownership and motivation.

The Mentorship Approach:

Mentorship plays a crucial role in personal and professional growth. In the startup world, having a mentor who guides and empowers us to find our own answers can be transformative. By encouraging us to think critically and make our own decisions, mentors help us develop valuable skills and perspectives. This approach also applies to UX design, where mentorship can fuel innovation and creativity. By nurturing a culture of mentorship, we can create a movement and philosophy that drives success and growth.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Incorporate recurring events or features into your UX design or startup strategy to foster sustained interest and a sense of belonging among users or employees.
  • 2. Break down complex activities into smaller tasks to increase user engagement and empower them to take action.
  • 3. Cultivate a culture of mentorship in your startup or design team, allowing individuals to find their own answers and fostering personal and professional growth.


Understanding the power of mental models, reciprocity, familiarity, and mentorship can greatly enhance our approach to UX design and startup culture. By leveraging these concepts, we can create compelling user experiences, foster engagement and loyalty, and drive growth and success in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and entrepreneurship.

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