How reassurance seeking patterns can help your user experience design

3 thoughts on “How reassurance seeking patterns can help your user experience design”

  1. Christina Li says:

    Hi Cory,
    Thanks for your comments and questions. It’s great to get your development perspective on this!

    I agree that confirmation is often very back-end dependent, e.g. at which point is it considered complete? But, I don’t think that should stop us from communicating the process or setting the expectations with our users. It might be a message to say “we’re working on the order…” or “we’re checking something out now…”. The right message can be a great form of reassurance in the user journey too.

    This leads onto the progress bar question (a very good one btw!) there’s often debate about whether users ‘see’ the progress bar and how detailed does it have to be for it be useful and not distracting. I don’t know what the right answer is, but your question reminded me of a blog post from GDS – in one of their services they stripped off the progress bar and found that it made no difference to users performance! I say you really need to test it out with the product you’re designing and do user testing or A/B testing accordingly.

    Hope this helps!

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  4. Cory says:

    Interesting perspective, thanks for the post.

    In regards to the need for reassurance when placing online orders, perhaps this is partly because frequent back end bugs in enterprise software sometimes encourage the point. It is an all-too-common software design, that the indication at the front end is not necessarily any sort of technical guarantee around the intricacies of email sending on the back end. Plus, it is generally on the back end where the “real” operation completes, in terms of database transactions and so forth – so it is understandable that the email is perceived as an indication of whether the overall interaction was “successful” or not. Once users are exposed to bugs in this area enough times, it seems that the fear/uncertainty around this particular case – grows deep very quickly. I have build systems like this, and I catch myself in the same behavior pattern – checking for that “final” email.

    Your experience with the Save button was very close to home, I have experienced the same thing – perhaps in part the bias of the user community (e.g. being used to desktop apps), or the perception that – when the “save” button was finally re-enabled after its selection – that this was also a strong feel-good assurance of the operation’s successful completion.

    Have you had any feedback on that other sketchy re-assurance mechanism, “the progress bar”? Just wondering. It seems similar in some ways.

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