Sometimes having too many choices will not make our lives easier. The variety of selections will confuse you more because you already have enough options to decide on throughout your day. The same predicament can happen when you browse a website or an app. Having too many choices can be overwhelming and time-consuming. But that’s where anticipatory design comes in. It provides us choices that should help ease our lives a little.
What is an anticipatory design?
An anticipatory design knows what the user wants. Well, almost. It analyzes possible choices based on the user’s previous behavior by accessing data such as browsing history, purchases, search results, and site views, to make decisions and execution easier. It’s a harmonious ecosystem where decisions are made automatically with minimum user input.
Anticipatory design surrounded users a long time ago. Alert boxes, pop-ups, in-app notifications and many other elements that aim to avoid a certain user behavior in the future, or make a certain decision based on past behavior. Microsoft Office’s infamous Clippy is a good example. It worked on detecting the user’s intentions and responded with help.
Today’s anticipatory designs use machine learning algorithms and data technology to predict user’s behavior based on past searches, ratings, comments, and other online interactions, called proprietary recommendation engine like what Amazon has.
How anticipatory design improves UX
The decision-making process is an overwhelming one when it comes to today’s busy life. If you stream your users with too many options some of them will leave and search for less stressful alternatives, and the ones who tend to stay will not be satisfied with the overall experience.
Anticipatory design reduces the cost of choice, simplifies the user interface and provides them with less distractive and conjectural online experiences to save their time and effort for other more important tasks, instead of repeating to do ordinary tasks again and again.
Google Now, for example, allows you to “focus on what matters” by solving issues before you even have to think about them. If there’s a restaurant reservation in your calendar, Google Now suggests travel time and great photo spots giving an enriching experience.
How it blossoms businesses
Simplifying your users’ decision-making process with anticipatory design will help them make faster decisions and have a pleasant user experience that is directed based on what they want from you thus enticing them to come for more.
Well-known companies such as Netflix and Amazon use this type of design. For example, when you go on Netflix it will suggest content for you based on what you have viewed earlier, on your watching habits, and the ratings you gave to the content you already watched. In this way, they will minimize choice range and direct the user attention, in addition to giving the user new opportunities to make choices by presenting new content.
This is how firms direct users to continue watching and shopping. They gather data, narrow choices, direct them, and make more money out of the anticipatory design elements.
Outsourcing decision making for our own benefit
Anticipatory design is a form of an exchange of benefits. For users, it makes their lives more convenient by putting cutting-edge digital solutions at their service to allow them to dedicate more time for more important tasks rather than overwhelming us with the decision-making process. For businesses, it brings more profits by providing the user with a delightful and intuitive experience, directing them towards what suits them among your products and services for an easier, faster, amusing decision-making process.