How To Build Better UIs With Anticipatory Design Patterns For Better User Experience?

06 Dec 2016

If you have any calendar entry of a restaurant reservation in your smartphone, Google Now is ready to enrich your experience by telling you about the travel time and great spots for photography. What Google Now is actually doing? Giving you solutions to the issues you have not thought about yet and allowing you to focus on what is important, hence saving you time.

Other than Google Now, Amazon, Spotify, Facebook, and many other websites use users’ personal data to present relevant information, hence helping them in better decision making. Facebook presents relevant news, ads; whereas, Amazon recommends relevant products to the users. Such kind of website design is termed as anticipatory design. According to Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE, in an anticipatory design, a designer is responsible to simplify the processes for the end users while minimizing the difficulty and making decisions on users’ behalf. This design pattern lowers the number of decisions users have to make by automating the process in user interfaces and reaching at a better outcome.

In this article, you will come to know how to build better and honest UIs with anticipatory design patterns for better decision making at the users’ end.

Why Decision On Users’ Behalf Is Need Of The Time?

The web world has brought marketplaces at doorstep. Shopping online is easier than ever before. However, the overwhelming list of options can make the experience daunting. According to Hick’s law, “Every additional choice increases the time required to take a decision.” More are the options tougher would be the decision-making. Therefore, to help users in improved decision-making, an anticipatory UI design with honest approach can play its part. There is no doubt that such an interface is need of the hour for better user experience.

Is It Possible To Lower The Choice Count?

For better user experience, the number of choices presented to the user needs to be reduced so that only the most relevant list appears to support an improved decision. This can be done in two ways:

  • Relevancy Wins: Individual preferences can be used to present limited options of the relevant products in front of a user. Amazon uses this strategy for relevant email recommendations and website product presentation.
  • Anticipate What Users May Need: Google Now is one such example where users may get help in areas they have not asked for, but may need at some time. Similarly, Spotify creates playlists for users, searching for any new music and adding them to the playlist. Such an approach is termed as anticipatory while deciding on users’ behalf.

Honest UIs Should Create Trust

While anticipatory design is helpful for better user experience, but trust factor can be questionable. Dark patterns used in designing the interfaces to trick the users will create distrust. Users may be forced to do the things they really do not want to do, ultimately leading to poor experience and a quick exit from the website. Using light patterns to keep things transparent and users well informed about any decision and action can be the way to go while building better UIs for better UX.

Don’t Try To Bound The Information

If users are presented with limited information, they might come across same type of content repeatedly. It will make discovering new things tougher. On Facebook, if you are a video lover and watch many videos over there, you will come across more videos. However, if you click on links, you will see more links recommended by Facebook. By not showing all the posts, instead picking the selected ones, Facebook is trying to reinforce users’ presumptions.

Give Users The Control Of What They Want To See

Users will feel in command if they see what they want to see. This could be done by an effective feedback mechanism. Facebook, Amazon, and Google are actively using some kind of feedback mechanism as part of better user interface for enhanced user experience. Google Now users can quickly respond whether the information presented was relevant or not. Amazon and Facebook users have to follow a difficult path to tell whether to improve recommendations or hide news respectively.

Avoid Presenting Partner Ads as Content

If advertising is done in the disguise of content, it will make the anticipatory decisions suspected.Google Maps uses pins as disguised ads. Google Now is collaborating with different brands to present their services when the users need them. Although these offered services can be helpful for the users, but the paid ads can be distracting.Such kind of dark pattern in UI design should be avoided as it is unethical and adds to poor user experience.

Avoid Repeating The Information Gathering Process

Information from pre-populated forms can be used for accurate assumptions about users. If a user wants a website to remember credit card details or even passwords, it tells the way user will be back there. Users might not want to repeat the process of filling the basic information at any form.

Allow Users If They Want To Disable Recommendations

Although most of the times users like to see recommendations, but if they do not like, allow them to opt out. Google Now allows users to disable the app whereas Amazon needs the logout action to turn off recommendations.

Concluding the discussion, it is obvious that with so many choices available online, users feel good to get recommendations as per their taste that is the theme behind anticipatory UI design patterns. However, the real thing is the sense of ethics behind any app offering users with support to make improved decisions. If the UI carries no dark patterns, but light patterns, means the things are transparent and honest, users will surely like the suggestions or recommendations made as assumptions by the app or website.

For enhanced user experience, trust factor needs to be maintained throughout the UI design process. Users should have complete control of what they want to see and what they do not want. Be fair in what you are presenting in front of the users because happy and satisfied users will be the repeat customers and customers should come first for sure success in the web world.

What do you think about better UI design patterns and their role in pleasant user experience? Share your precious words!