Published on November 30th, 2005 | by Rahel Bailie0
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.