September 24, 2019 is World Interaction Design Day (IxDD) where we celebrate the impact interaction design has had on our lives.

IxDD 2019’s theme is “trust and responsibility”. We use interfaces every day (probably) and no matter how good or bad that interface is, it was designed by someone. We rely on the work of designers to help and enrich our lives.

As users, how can we be sure that designers put our needs first?

Responsibility

Designers have a responsibility to undertake due diligence in their work. For example:

  • Track – Ensure your design is helping users by tracking performance metrics such as task success, customer satisfaction, rage clicks, etc.
  • Optimise – Use data to inform updates to designs and A/B or MVT test them with live audiences. Success doesn’t stop after launch!
  • Care - Designers care about their projects. They should stay on projects in some capacity to ensure unethical approaches don’t creep into projects after handover.
  • Accessibility – It’s 2019, all interaction design should be accessible to users with impairments by default.
  • Compliance – Users’ data should be used for design and testing to deliver a better result. Ensure user consent has been given and they have the means to withdraw. Design interfaces for users to provide informed consent, such as compliance with GDPR or having a “non-legalese” version of your terms and conditions.

 

Trust

Users put a lot of trust in design. This trust can easily be abused when companies use design to manipulate their users through “dark patterns”.

Dark patterns are tricks used on apps and websites that try and influence us in to doing things we didn’t intend to. We rarely give websites and apps our full attention, and these patterns take advantage of that.

Companies who use dark patterns are at risk of being called out publicly or even breaking the law. Examples of dark patterns include:

  • Disguised ads – Where paid advertising is disguised as content or functionality to get you to interact with it.
  • Hidden costs – Where companies aren’t upfront with the full cost of their service, or make certain costs hard to find.
  • Misdirection – The design intentionally draws your attention away from something else.
  • Trick questions – Wording form fields in a way that when read quickly appear to ask one thing, but when read thoroughly ask another.

And many more…

 

How can you be trusted?

When it comes to interaction design there are some easy techniques you can use to reassure users they’re right to trust you:

  • Organisation – Intuitive terminology and taxonomy of your information architecture make users feel confident. Confident users are more likely to trust you.
  • Transparency – AKA be honest. Don’t hide negative information or do unexpected behaviours. Users come back for honesty.
  • No distractions – Don’t bombard users. Users don’t have much time to give you and options or popups fatigue them. Fed-up users won’t trust you.
  • Consistency – Each page or screen should behave the similarly. Consistency should also remain between channels when you have an omni-channel experience. If you aren’t consistent you look disorganised – not a trustworthy attribute.
  • Visual quality – Layout, colours and imagery should be appropriate for and appeal to your target audience. Old, unprofessional and ugly looking interfaces come across as untrustworthy to users.

 

Trust us

At House of Comms we believe in doing the right thing. Everything we’ve talked about is part of our process, and we love getting our clients on board too.

Want to discuss the interaction design requirements for your next project? Drop us a line…

24 Sep 2019
Author
William Hodgson-Byrne,
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