The world according to users

directions on web content
guide your users

“How do we make sure that our users know that they are in logged into our intranet, when with one click they could be in an another environment, or a kiosk”.

It’s a great question for a few reasons:

  • User centric questions are good, it shows we are thinking about them!
  • It highlights how interchangeable and connected platforms are becoming, which poses both great opportunities and risks for web people like me.

If a task naturally asks the user to click-through multiple environments,  should we tell the user that they have “now left the building”…To me, the answer will always be “Yes”.  It’s important to manage expectations both for accessibility reasons and that it’s just the right thing to do.

For example,  if your task starts in an intranet but then navigates out to complete the task, you are moving a user from an internal, secure environment into something that may not require a log in.

Users need signage letting them know where they are, where they are going and what they will find when they get there.

A user’s behavior will change slightly given the platform, the security, the device and the task in those settings. Just think of how you browse a mobile device to how you search from a desktop.  It’s the same task, but slightly different in execution.

One thing that we can do, to create a seamless experience, is to use a templated information architecture, that is scalable to platform, and provides the user with familiar experiences between the two. By this I mean, using labels that are informative and reflect where you are, but are similar across mobile, web and app. A templated design approach also assists in this.

Any other great ways to help users know where they are, but give them a seamless experience across platforms?

Published by Claire Spencer

Senior social media specialist combining mindfulness with content to build a better world.

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