The Importance of User Satisfaction
Earlier this year, Digg released a video that went viral and racked up more than 16 million views. The video comprised five minutes of footage showing highly satisfying actions such as a sharp knife slicing through a tomato; a robot lining up stacks of batteries, then picking them up; or a printer miraculously transferring a camouflage pattern onto a helmet.
What’s so satisfying about all of these actions? It’s a little difficult to pin down precisely, but the common element is probably a clear, visually pleasing, immediate indication of a perfect outcome.
People want the feeling of satisfaction—the euphoria—that accompanies the sense of completion they experience when something meets or exceeds their expectations in a beautiful way. They feel delighted when a chocolate bar breaks exactly in half or a pen glides smoothly on the first try. Satisfaction has gained social currency because marketers and content providers have realized the power of satisfying content. Folks feel good after seeing something satisfying, and they are happy to share it with the world.
By keeping user satisfaction foremost in their mind, UX designers could transform products and reap massive benefits. Products that go beyond merely being visually attractive or informative to becoming genuinely pleasing to use deliver a quality user experience.
Many app designers have been aware of the opportunity that user experience presents for years now. When someone swipes to delete an item in iOS and that item instantly disappears, he feels satisfied. For example, Tinder’s Swipe Left/Swipe Right concept has changed the landscape of dating applications. These simple actions provide clear and immediate feedback, leading to a perfect outcome. With one swipe, a rejected item or romantic candidate is gone forever.
Here’s another example from Twitter: When a user favorites a tweet by clicking a small, pink Valentine’s heart, it jumps briefly, then explodes into colorful confetti. This immediate feedback lets the user know that he successfully completed the action, and Twitter delivers it in a cute, visually pleasing manner.
Progress bars can also deliver that jolt of satisfaction when an action finally completes. This works even better when you add a little visual treat to celebrate the user’s success. However, despite our knowing for decades about “The Importance of Percent-Done Progress Indicators for Computer-Human Interfaces,” all too often we fail to prioritize this kind of satisfying feedback. It should be a priority.