Anticipatory Design

Libraryland has long wondered about solutions to information overload – which turns out to be a real usability problem. “Decision fatigue” burdens the users of library websites, not only by their original questions about what to read next, which events are on Saturday, or when the library is open, but also by which link to click, what to search, or even where to look. With our user’s context and behavior available to us, can we – should we – use it to craft experiences unique to each individual?

If we know that John Snow has almost exclusively sought material about the white walkers, let’s present the best titles right upfront, before he even searches. Oh, and since it’s 9:30 a.m. and cold, our site should suggest he swings-by in person for a free cup of coffee. It’s his birthday after all.

This question is at the crux of anticipatory design, the ethics of which we’ll explore as well as techniques and opportunities for enhancing web services by anticipating the needs of the individual.

Original broadcast February 3, 2016 

Biography ~ Michael Schofield 
Michael Schofield (@schoeyfield) is a front end developer slash librarian specializing in interaction and user experience. He writes a ton and speaks at a variety of conferences about design triggers, responsive web design, lean code, content strategy, user engagement, and pushing the #libweb forward.

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