Don’t put performance above user expectations


Attempts to increase the effectiveness of the user’s interaction with the site by reducing the number of necessary actions can end up hurting if they do not correspond to existing mental models and expectations based on experience. You need to know these nuances when you are going to Hire Angular Developers.

One of the most important goals of usability is to reduce interaction costs as much as possible – the number of steps that the user must go through to solve the problem that has arisen. However, the cost of interaction is not only the number of steps, and clicks, it is also mental effort. And when the user is already accustomed to “inefficient” interaction, and it has become habitual for him, any attempts to optimize this process can lead to disastrous results. Attempts to understand the unusual lead to even greater mental effort.

Simplified equation: IC = P + M (interaction cost = physical + mental effort). It is not worth reducing P by a small amount if the corresponding M becomes much larger.

1. Expectations are based on experience

People often choose the path of the least effort, not because they are lazy, but because they are trying to be efficient and achieve their many goals as quickly and easily as possible. When they think or solve a problem, people subconsciously compare the current situation with experiences to make decisions and take action. If in similar situations, a certain action has often been successful before, it will be done again, despite the many other possible alternatives. (These other alternatives are often too weak to defeat the most practical option.) In addition, the outcome of this action is assumed to be the same as the results achieved in the past — experience becomes current expectations.

The described subconscious process occurs with the help of implicit memory. Implicit memory is a type of long-term memory in which experiences are used as the basis for actions without conscious involvement. On the web, users rely on an implicit memory of every website they have ever encountered. When taking actions to complete tasks, users also depend on procedural memory, the section of implicit memory associated with performing actions. When a task is processed frequently, it becomes part of the procedural memory. It’s like exercising a muscle. Therefore, the type of procedural memory dedicated to movement is called “muscle memory”. Our procedural memory is what makes it easy for us to tie our shoelaces, ride a bike, enter a PIN on a website or at an ATM. We can do these tasks on autopilot.

2. Practice makes perfect

If we often performed certain actions, then this helps us to cope with complex processes without conscious effort. By repeating an action—ideally the same way every time—we learn and store that action in our procedural memory. Multiple instances of getting into the same situation requiring a certain action (or set of actions) and getting the same result to contribute to strengthening the pattern and fixing it in our memory.

Practice is also how we learn information and store it in our explicit memory that we consciously access.

In the digital world, users apply certain patterns. Therefore, we strongly recommend that designers follow established standards when creating an interface and interacting with teams that provides web portal development services. There they practice locating the elements:

  •       using the search field,
  •       marking checkboxes for filtering lists,
  •       entering and submitting data in forms, and so on.

When they land on your site, they expect it to work just like the others – any slight deviation from the usual norm takes them out of autopilot mode and forces them to think and try to find an action appropriate to the new situation. This is bad! We want users to stay on autopilot and not put in the extra mental effort while interacting with the site.

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