Things about People
If you’re unsure, then chances are you’ll scroll down the page and look for reviews and ratings left by others. And chances are you’ll listen to the reviews, even though the people writing the reviews are total strangers.
Does your buying or liking the lemonade have anything to do with the wording on the sign next to the lemonade stand? Apparently so.
Whether you’re buying candy, cereal, TVs, or jeans, you’ll likely have a huge number of items to choose from. Whether it’s a retail store or a Web site, if you ask people if they’d prefer to choose from a few alternatives or have lots of choices, most people will say they want lots of choices.
Consider this scenario: You’ve just landed at an airport and you have to walk to the baggage claim to pick up your luggage. It takes you 12 minutes to walk there. When you arrive your luggage is coming onto the carousel. How impatient do you feel?
Contrast that with this scenario: You’ve just landed at an airport, and the walk to the luggage carousel takes 2 minutes. Then you stand around waiting 10 minutes for your luggage to appear. How impatient do you feel now? In both cases it took you 12 minutes to pick up your luggage, but chances are you are much more impatient, and much unhappier, in the second scenario where you have to stand around and wait.
Whatever the activity, you become totally engrossed, totally in the moment.
Everything else falls away, your sense of time changes, and you almost forget who you are and where you are. What I’m describing is called a flow state.
Progressive disclosure requires multiple clicks. You may have heard it said that Web sites should minimize the number of times that people have to click to get to detailed information.
The number of clicks is not important. People are very willing to click multiple times. In fact, they won’t even notice they’re clicking if they’re getting the right amount of information at each click to keep them going down the path.
Think progres-sive disclosure; don’t count clicks.
The brain can only process small amount of information at a time—consciously, that is.
(The estimate is that you handle 40 billion pieces of information every second, but only 40 of those make it to your conscious brain.) One mistake that designers sometimes make is giving too much information all at once.
You’re thinking of buying a TV. You do some research on what TV to buy and then go online to purchase one. What factors are involved in this decision-making process? It may not be the process you think it is. People like to think that they’ve carefully and logically weighed all the relevant factors before they make a decision. In the case of the TV, you’ve considered the size of TV that works best in your room, the brand that you’ve read is the most reliable, the competitive price, whether this is the best time to buy, and so on. You’ve considered all those factors consciously, but research on decision making shows that your actual decision is made primarily in an unconscious way.
Why do people donate their time and creative thought process to Wikipedia? Or the open source movement? When you stop and think about it, you realize that there are many activities that people engage in, even over a long period of time, that require high expertise, and yet offer no monetary or even career-building benefit. People like to feel that they are making progress. They like to feel that they are learning and mastering new knowledge and skills.
I know it’s popular to think that you are multitasking, but the research is clear: people can’t actually multitask. (There’s one specific, possible exception that I’ll get to in a moment.) For many years psychology research has shown that people can attend to only one task at a time. You can only think about one thing at a time. You can only conduct one mental activity at a time. So you can talk, or you can read. You can read, or you can type. You can listen, or you can read—one thing at a time. We are pretty good at switching back and forth quickly, so we think we are multitasking, but in reality we are not.