Correction and Affirming

I am quite fond of children. Crumb-snatchers and high schoolers alike. I have recently completed my second year as a volunteer teacher for ScriptEd. My sister is a teacher not to mention my baby brother has also ventured into teaching for a short while. I think my grandmother would be proud. How can you not like children? They are so bright!

All of them.

As a Ux Designer I believe that if an interface makes you feel dumb or stuck, then the interface is the issue, not the user. I have witnessed toddlers navigate their way through tablets and phones. Not to suggest that those interfaces are intuitive. Children are sponges, they’ve seen their parents, older siblings, someone navigate their way around on those interfaces.

I said all this to say, the same way in which a child knows they are heading down the right path and doing things right is by affirmation. They can observe you taking certain steps but if they don’t see everything, if they skip over something like the fact that you have to enter a password and so correctly, will cause them to try the first time and fail. So they then know to pay closer attention to the keys you press. Thereby learning your password.

Interfaces should be both corrective and affirming but one more so than the other.

70% corrective and 30% affirmative. Corrective in terms of providing a clear path, being immediately clear about if the user has gone off the path they truly wish to be on. Affirmations can be used to do this. The same messages we use to comfort and encourage our users that they are on the right path are the very same messages we can use alert them that they’ve done something they did not mean to do. Providing them a way to back out and correct their path is great here. At the moments when we affirm we should also allow them correct.

Affirmations should not be without the option to review, to go back and adjust.