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Published on November 30th, 2005 | by Rahel Bailie

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Off the Beaten Task Path

On the one hand, users don’t like to feel pressured to act in a prescribed way. On the other hand, users don’t want to be led away from whatever task they set out to accomplish. For instance, when I go to Amazon.com, I want to shop for books. I don’t to be led down a garden path that takes me away from my mission to find the perfect light reading, though I like the illusion that I’m not being led to the checkout screen, one click at a time.

What Amazon does is to keep me focused on my mission: buying the item of my choice. If I want to look at a picture of my item, it opens in another window. If I want to rate the item, it opens in another window. I fill in my information, then close the window and continue along my primary task path.

The beauty of the concept is in its simplicity. Less is more: Keep the distractions at bay. Give the user something to do at the end of each page. Keep the user on task.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,



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