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Web Designing While Accounting Human Errors

August 24, 2019 |
Brand & Identity, Design, UX, Web Design
Web Designing

We often hear the phrase ‘To err is human’, and it can’t be truer in every aspect of our lives. We all make mistakes. Users on your websites are no different. Sure, you can’t stop them from making mistakes, but, can you follow some aspects of web designing while designing your website in a way that it leaves a scope of making mistakes?

Even the most careful and diligent users are bound to make mistakes at some point in time; others will make more mistakes. Therefore, it is critical to consider this fact while designing your website. The errors in web designing can be as simple as mistyping a URL, providing incorrect information in a sign-up form, adding info in wrong fields, etc. The mistakes could even be as disastrous as accidentally sending thousands of dollars to the wrong person via PayPal. So, here are a few tips that you can follow to account for human error while designing your websites. 

1. Provide Straightforward Instructions

A lot of times, we assume that the users are by default aware of the most basic instructions. Thus, we don’t feel it necessary to provide these basic instructions to them. Moreover, people often see basic directions as a bit snooty. It’s human to assume you know everything you need to know for a simple-seeming task. This causes errors.

Don’t assume they know what you mean. An imperative when delivering clear instructions is not to assume the recipient knows what you mean. This can be for anything from commonly used acronyms to simple navigation instructions.  Mixed messages, assumptions and multiple options mean that the message received might differ from what we actually meant.

2. Give Clear Warnings During

Just like the instructions, users must get a clear understanding of the consequences of actions taken on the website. And, sometimes they need to be informed and explained the implications, that too in detail. Still, there would be users who would keep ignoring your warnings, but there’s not much you can do for them in any case.

There’s also a second web designing approach which you can proceed with. A majority of people will leave your site when they face a warning message which they don’t fully understand. Else, they may look for help to understand the warning, which again may lead them to bounce off. You’ll have to decide whether you would rather deal with potential inaction from some customers, or more errors. Both approaches have their pros and cons.

3. Always Confirm Actions While

You may think that all users are completely sure of what they are doing on the website, or they may get annoyed with questions asking them to confirm their actions. A confirmation dialog may seem like an irritating and useless extra step; however, the truth of the matter is a quick “Are you sure you want to do that?” message can be invaluable. The user may be taking action for the first time, or the tenth time, it’s irrespective. A confirmation will only increase chances that the user takes the correct, intended action.

4. Validate Forms

Form validation may not be a full-proof solution, but a potent tool, and a great way to gently guide the user in the right direction. While proper form design can help keep users from simply putting the wrong text in the wrong form, form validation is excellent for double-checking information and catching typos and forgotten fields.

Improper validation of form data is one of the leading causes of security vulnerabilities. It exposes your website to attacks such as header injections, cross-site scripting, and SQL injections. It is important to note that client-side validation is beneficial, but it is not enough. If you’re going to implement client-side validation, it would be good to have some of the server-side too, just to be safe.

5. Use Appropriate Form Labels

In our last article, we listed out some essential tips for selecting the right button labels. The labels on the forms are equally important and can lead users to commit an error, if not used properly. There are tonnes of websites on the Internet with so many vaguely-labeled forms. Worse are the forms that use industry jargons on a client-facing website. In some of the sites, the labels and input fields are even misaligned. That’s just a strict NO-NO!

6. Improve Usability Through Color and Contrast

The colors and contrast are often used on a website most simplistically. People only go as far as using red and its shades to portray bad, and green and its shades to show good. But that’s not enough. It doesn’t necessarily help differently-abled users. A website should be usable by everyone, so various disabilities should be kept in mind. Disabilities can include but are not limited to, the inability to use a mouse or see the screen.

When someone has low visual acuity, specific color palettes on websites may make it difficult for that person to see and understand the website content fully. You must find a way to add contrast to your elements, in such a way, that they’re clearly and easily distinguished from each other. Pay special attention to this if two options use similar text, but do radically different things.

7. Provide ‘Undo’ Option Where Possible

We all know how handy the ‘Ctrl+Z’ option comes in every day while performing various tasks. The ability to undo an action is such a boon to everyone. We wish we had an undo button for our lives. Coming back to reality though, if you’re building a web app, you might seriously consider implementing some sort of “Undo” function for just about every action with permanent consequences.

You cannot ensure error-free browsing on your website; neither can you take a generic call on the abilities of your users. But, considering human errors while web designing, will increase the chances of good user experience and fewer errors. Speak to our experts to discuss more on it.

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