I recently reviewed an article on smashing about the level of interactive elements on websites and how organizations need to help the users by including and excluding those elements based on common standards.
“Putting in the extra work to remove interface elements is sometimes thankless. But creating experiences in which users are only asked relevant information at relevant times makes for happy users, and happy users lead to happy designers.” -Nathan Carnes
The example they used is about “globalization” methods for including elements behind the scenes to update settings for the user but not showing elements forcing a user to select. I have been dealing with translation and global settings based on locale settings at work to help the user progress through the browsing and booking process. As the economic conditions become more global each company with a web presence will deal with the current ways of capturing user information and settings while ad-hearing to EU and local cyber laws.
A great example of cookie based user settings like the UPS/FDX example used in the article is sears.com/international. These take cookie settings and generate predefined preferences for users. This can also cause problems other than what is depicted above and in the article, cookie settings are deeply regulated on the international market by the european union. They offered examples of what is essential to choose for the user and what they should be choosing for themselves.
Adding more traditional interactive elements to a web solution is easy because the technical implementation and user interface is universally understood and accepted. Trends like these are the way of the future for our global market place. From cookie settings, reduction of ineffective interactive elements, to responsive web design, the design and development organizations have to understand the impacts of those things on users but always improve the experience. We have to understand all of these things and more to choose the best solution for the business and it’s users. It is a endless cycle of give and take to find the best solution and not make too many scarifies on behalf of the users. The technical implementation is straightforward, and the UX trade-offs are well defined.
“The history of the Internet has been a steady march towards websites that are richer, bigger and more interactive. As websites have become more robust, we — as designers and developers — have often placed the burden on our users to make more decisions, each of which distracts them from their wants and needs.” -Nathan Carnes