UX Principle #10 - User Control and Freedom

  • By
    Brooke Cowling
    September 30, 2018
    March 2, 2022

In case you missed it, last week on the blog we talked about consistency, clarity and standards. Today, last but not least, UX Principle #10 - User control and freedom!

Hands up if you’ve used Outlook? How many times have you poured over an email before you hit send, only to realise you’ve sent it to the wrong person? You’re not alone!

You spend the next 10 minutes trying to find the recall button, at this point the email has already been read and can’t be recalled. When you send an email from your Gmail account, you immediately have the option to ‘undo’ and the system will recall the message. They’ve put this option front and centre for a reason.

Control is giving your users the control to do what they want or the option to undo something if it all goes to pot. If a user deletes something by mistake and you give an ’undo’ option, you’re giving the user control. When users know that they have control, and the option to undo something, they are more likely to do it in the first place. We talked about the success of Amazon’s one-click checkout - it’s successful because users know they can cancel the order straight away, which means they are more willing to use the option to begin with.

It’s a small thing but it has a massive impact. The user did something wrong and you’re helping them out so they don’t look stupid. The impact value is high.

When you’re designing a user experience, observe what real people do but give them freedom. Some people only need the basics, if you’re installing new software for example, some technically challenged users will opt for the ‘recommended’ installation option. While other users, people with a better understanding of the software, will likely go for the custom installation. You’re giving your users power simply by giving them different options. Whenever you see ‘Advanced settings’ this is allowing the user freedom with the software.

To recap, you need to give your users the confidence to make mistakes with a quick exit strategy if they need it.

And that’s a wrap on the 10 UX principles!

Remember, UX is how you make the user feel and the way to make them feel good is reduce cognitive load and make the experience user-centric.

If you have questions about any of the topics we’ve discussed, drop us a line at contact@digitalofthings.com

Thanks for tuning in.

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