Don't make customers relearn, be consistentWritten by The Marketing Team
Striving for consistency in user interface design is probably one of the most well known principles since Donald Norman’s awesome books. Having a more consistent UI or interaction is simply a great way to decrease the amount of learning someone has to go through as they use an interface or product. As we press buttons and shift sliders, we learn to expect these interaction elements to look, behave and be found in the same way repeatedly. Consistency solidifies the way we learn to interact and as soon as it is taken away, we are then forced back into learning mode all over again. Consistent interfaces can be achieved through a wide possible range of things such as: colors, directions, behaviors, positioning, size, shape, labelling and language. Before we make everything consistent however, please let’s bear in mind that keeping things inconsistent still has value. Inconsistent elements or behaviors come out into attention from the depths of our habitual subconscious - which can be a good thing when you want to have things get noticed. Try it, but know when to break it.
Try Designing For Zero Data instead of just data heavy cases
There are cases when you will have 0, 1, 10, 100, or 10,000+ data results which might need to be displayed somehow in various ways. The most common of these scenarios is probably the transition from first time use with zero data towards future use with a lot more data. We often forget to design for this initial case when there is still nothing to display whatsoever, and by doing so we run the risk of neglecting users. A zero data world is a cold place. When first time users look at your app and all it does is show a blank slate without any guidance then you’re probably missing out on an opportunity. Zero data states are perfect candidates for getting users across the initial hurdle of learning by showing them what to do next. Good things scale and user interfaces are no exception.
Try Opt-Out instead of opt-in
An opt-out strategy implies that users or customers are defaulted to take part in something without having to take any action. Alternatively, there is also the more traditional opt-in strategy that requires people to first take an action in order to take part in or receive something. There are two good reasons why opt-out works better than opt-in. First it alleviates resistance on the path of action, as the user does not have to do anything. Secondly, it’s also a form of recommendation which implies some kind of a norm - “since everyone else takes this as it is, I might also do the same”. Of course the opt-out strategy is often perceived as controversial as there are those sleazy marketers which will abuse it. One such evil is to diminish the readability of the opt-out text, while another is to use confusing text, such as double negatives. Both examples will result in users being less aware of actually signing up for something. Hence to keep the ethics in check, if you do decide to go with an opt-out approach, do make it very clear and understandable to your customers what they are being defaulted into. After all, this tactic has also been used in Europe to save lives.