June 8th, 2008
When designing online experiences, it’s very tempting to ask the users what they would expect. Where would they expect the search box to be? Where would they expect a login element to appear? Where would they expect to find contact information?
Asking for their expectations makes sense: if we know what they are already preconditioned to look for, and we design to that, then they’ll know where to find things in our designs. It seems very simple.
Unfortunately, we quickly find out that expectations don’t drive how users interact with our designs. They look elsewhere, to the visual clues and a well-designed flow, to ensure they have the delightful experience we’re hoping for.
In this week’s issue of our email newsletter, UIEtips, I look at some of our recent research to see how the users’ expectations played a role in the effectiveness of the design of sign-in functionality. We watched users take advantage of their frequent flyer programs as they traveled and looked to see if the variety of site designs had an impact on their behavior. I think you’ll find it interesting.
Read my article, The Wheres and Whens of Users’ Expectations, here.
How have you integrated the users’ expectations into your design process? Have you ignored them? Or, do you take stock to ensure you’re doing exactly what they expect? Please share your experiences below.
Both visual and interaction design are key skills for designing effective systems. At this year’s User Interface 13 Conference, October 13-16, in Cambridge MA, we’ve asked world-renowned experts, Luke Wroblewski and Kim Goodwin, to each conduct full-day seminars on these topics.