The environment can greatly affect our perception and the ability to perform a task. No matter how much we try to live our lives digitally, the analogue part of it will not go away. At least, not anytime soon.
When the user performs a task, she performs it in a unique environment. There are factors and distractions that could just as much break the concentration as ease it up.
In their book “Pervasive Information Architecture”, Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati make the point that information and contexts flow in our daily lives. We should not be considering a usage of an app or content for that matter as a stand-alone act. We shall be taking the environment and context into account.
For a parent, for example, the environment is determined by her child and everything else comes secondary. A shop assistant at work has to deal constantly with the customer first while recording the sale on Square and issuing the invoice. A receptionist at a hotel has to perform multiple tasks at the same time when a new guest arrives at her desk.
Designing for busy environments sometimes is a challenge. But one that can be easily tackled away, should you consider the possible scenarios before you start creating the content or its medium.
Research helps a lot in these cases, empathy also does. A digital professional shall not be shying away from the analogue world, but rather embraces its context and build for it. After all, we all live in the real world. Well, most of us.
In that sense, when you design for different environments, the best approach is to keep the task’s processes as simple and frictionless as possible. Asking for details that are not really vital to concluding a purchase is a no go. Inserting ads, surveys and other irrelevant steps are going to break the process and make the user exit it.
Simplicity is key for environment and context based content, platform or design. Make sure you have that covered.
This post is part of a talk I gave at Bulgarian Web Summit on “Travelling With The User”. You can find the slides here.
Image source: tylertate.com
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