Thoughts, ideas and solutions on UX, web accessibility and design
Forcing function is commonly cited in human factors case studies as recommendations for error-prevention in health and safety contexts. It means forcing users to do something in a certain way in order to proceed on a journey. Looking at forcing function techniques can support error prevention as opposed to error recovery.
Scouring through UX blogs on the topic of menus, IA, or navigation you will find the theme of buckets.
A ‘bucket’ is defined as a menu item into which almost anything could fit – they are typically labelled with vague words like ‘Miscellaneous’, ‘Information’, ‘Other’ or ‘Stuff’. These have effectively been crucified as “the ONE thing you must never do”. So at the risk of being virtually crucified, I am here to defend them.
The shockingly high dropout statistics you will undoubtedly find if you probe into an average online form’s analytics begs the question: ‘Why are they so difficult to get through?’ Often they are not actually difficult; they are just boring.
It seems the only people who enjoy forms in any way are those who get to criticise them for a living.
You may also think there to be masochistic form creators out there who enjoy deliberately creating frustrating experiences; but I believe they are simply failing to grasp how many problems a set of questions and answer fields can run into.
A lot of research goes into understanding how physical disabilities (e.g. blindness) affect users online and how support technologies can help. However many people suffer from psychological disorders or learning difficulties which greatly affect their experiences online, and comparatively little research and development has gone into understanding and designing for these issues.
One of the biggest challenges facing online businesses today is getting customers to stay loyal to them. It is easy enough to generate numerous first time hits through an ad campaign or promotion, but the cost of doing so often outweighs what users spend on their first visit. Many statistics show that returning and long-time customers are of more value to your business than first time ones, due to both increased sales and reduced costs. Therefore the key to sustainable revenue is to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.