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Options, options and options | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Options, options and options


I’m probably confusing a lot of terms with the above diagram as a concept, but it’s worth seeing if any of this makes sense. If a person is wanting to interact with something, what’s the best route to help them? Naturally every scenario is based on unique set of factors which makes the question impossible to validate with one answer. But let’s say there’s a beginner, intermediate and power user mode. Would that help more people than not?

Choose Your Own Adventure Choice: The tasks are kept to a minimum. A person has three options, they make a decision and are given three more options and so on. They’re able to drill down to the most appropriate place without having to be distracted by other options that won’t help a person.

FAQ Choices: Maybe the person wants to do something that a lot of other people want to do, yet it isn’t clear how to do it. Why not set the buttons up in the form of a question with an easy way to follow the trail.

View All Choices: Throw the user off into the deep end. Give them all options at once and let them decide what to click. Hopefully the buttons clearly describe the actions once they’re clicked. It’s helpful for those that know what they want to do ASAP.

The great thing about today is that it’s not entirely hard to let a person use any of those options for a site or service. It just takes time to implement. The designer also has to decide which option to start with. Make it dead simple (beginner mode) or give a lot of options (advance mode) and see how people try to navigate through things. The intermediate option usually comes afterwards as a support option. The typical response is to go simple and build up, but is it always so bad to throw a lot of things out there, simplify and build up again?

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