Set it and forget it.December 8th, 2011 | Posted by in user-experience
How often do you change or modify settings in an application or web platform? I imagine not often. A recent article stated that of hundreds of people who participated in their study, less than 5% change their settings in Microsoft Word. The assumption was that the system was delivered with default settings that were recommended for its use.
Of the participants that did change their settings, they found developers and designers customized the most. So I decided to get in on the action. I opened MS Word and selected ‘Word Options’. I was pleasantly surprised by a limited number of selections that allowed me to change my view in a way that was easily digestible (with the exception of some labels). What did catch me by surprise was that the visual change I made here carried over to all of the MS products. Unexpected, but I liked it.
What do you customize? Do you customize at all? It’s interesting that from the product side, they want the users to take the product and make it their own. But from the customer side, they expect it to be delivered in a certain way for a reason. What does this tell us about the Product Developers and their relationship with Customers?
We need to design with purpose and deliver default settings with intentions that satisfy the user, because that’s what they think we are doing. That’s what we get paid for.