Autocorrect memes are aplenty on the internet and while I understand that they can be infuriating when you’re texting and the word that came up was grossly different from what you originally intended, the 21st century Freudian slip if you will, spellchecker is a highly essential for any writer, present company included. If in whatever field you’re working on there is a tool that would automatically detect whenever you make a mistake, wouldn’t you want to use that? Heck, I would very much want something like that to navigate life in general given my history of bad decisions and avoidable errors.
This line of thinking is the reason why when you typed in ‘Dwayne Wade’ into Google with the intention of looking up for the famous professional basketball player, the search engine would automatically show results for ‘Dwyane Wade’, which is the correct spelling for one of the most misspelled name in sports. Accounting for human errors, because of an honest mistake or due to the lack of information, is essential in any field of business, including in the world of web design, as has been shown in the case of Dwyane Wade.
Leaving a margin of error
When approaching a major of election, one of the phrase we’ve grown accustomed in hearing is the phrase ‘margin of error’, especially when discussing the result of a survey or a poll. In layman’s terms, the phrase margin of error describes the amount of random sampling error in the result; the lesser the margin of error, the closer the survey’s results in representing the whole population. This is because in surveys, only a portion of the population is sampled so there’s always a chance the result isn’t representative of population as a whole.
This margin of error is just another way of how the world in general account for human errors. The human race, in all of their beauty and sheer ingenuity is also far from being infallible. We make mistakes every now and then and while most of them are minor, some can be as major as the person who mistakenly who sent out a missile attack alert last year in Hawaii. Sometimes we made the mistake of deleting an important e-mail or we put the wrong data in a vaguely-labeled online form and while they’re not as egregious as the false missile alarm, they can still be pretty annoying. It’s then important to design for human error when designing your website, which can be achieved in the following 4 ways.
Clear and unambiguous instructions
For example, say you’re trying to cook a turkey and in the instruction you were given, there’s no mention of a specific temperature on what temperature should you go for when pre-heating the oven or just how long should you leave the turkey in the oven. All the instruction says is simply hot or hot enough; wouldn’t you find that incredibly annoying? Anything above 60 0C could be considered hot and given the range of possible temperatures, a specific number would be required in this case so you could end up with a perfectly cooked turkey.
In the world of web design, your customers could range from the most tech-savvy of millenials to the most clueless of Gen X-ers and as a business owner, you always have to prepare yourself for the worst possible outcome by including a clear and unambiguous instruction to your website. This is essential for an e-commerce platform or a website hosting an online service akin the way Google Drive is for cloud storage and Spotify is for music. Once you’re done, don’t forget to test your website out on a variety of users to ensure that it’s foolproof.
Include confirmation dialog box for certain actions
When dealing with menial tasks that are usually performed over and over and carries no noteworthy repercussion, such as when you’re adding songs onto a playlist on Spotify or putting things on your shopping cart, confirmation dialog box would be an annoyance. However, when dealing with an irreversible task with potentially disastrous results when done wrong, such as when you’re about to checkout in an e-commerce platform or when you’re about to delete a file in Google Drive, it’s important to include a confirmation dialog box as they can be downright invaluable.
Form data validation
Certain fields on a form, such as passwords, e-mails and birth dates have to be written in a specific way or else they wouldn’t be recognized. Passwords are typically assigned a minimum length and have to include certain characters, e-mails obviously have to include the @ symbol while the number for month cannot be bigger than 12 while days top out at 31 with certain months topping out at even less. By including a form data validation, users cannot submit the form if any of the data fails the requirement. This saves you from having to go through heaps of junk data and your users from having to submit more than one form.
Include warnings and definitions for the more technical terms
Sometimes, people commit to certain actions even when they don’t know what they’re committing to. After the results of the Brexit referendum was announced for example, Google Trends reported that the the question ‘what does it mean to leave the EU?’ become the most asked question from the UK, followed closely, somewhat alarmingly, by ‘what is the EU?’. So yeah, people aren’t always aware of the consequences of their actions and to help combat this, always make sure to include information on what certain actions actually mean in terms of results and if your website is full of technical or industry-specific jargons, including a simple definition via the use of mouseover text could certainly be helpful.
Declutter your website
Sometimes, we also make less-than-optimal decisions simply because we’re presented with so many options that trying to make a properly objective evaluation turned into a Sisyphean task. This is why I’m not really a fan of restaurants whose menu consists of more than a dozen pages as that is an indication of a lack of specialization and it’s just going to make my decision-making process just a little bit harder. In the world of web design, you can alleviate this by reducing unnecessary and distracting elements from your website or by reducing the number of largely redundant options available in your website.