If we have to explain how to do something to a user, we have failed?

by David   Last Updated June 12, 2019 19:16 PM

I was having this conversation the other day, well, a meeting where I heard

If we have to explain how to do something to a user, we have failed.

Now, in some circumstances, without a doubt, there will be times where you will have to explain the 'rules' as it were. You will not be able to avoid it.

Some examples:

  • A game, instructions on how to play
  • A 'VR/3D' experience, again, where you have to give an overview of where to click/where to scroll.
  • A minimal website that has, at its heart, not many UI elements

This leads me into a much larger question, however.

Is it acceptable, do you think, to tell an audience what to do, and for it to succeed? By succeeding, we mean a user reaches the end 'goal posts', whatever that might be. As far as 'Goals' and 'Conversions', it could be that a user purchases, and converts.

Here's an example I am working on:

image of map acting as a hyperlink

The mock-up shows an African charity, where we wish to use the map of Africa as a <a> hyperlink. It is not immediately obvious that a user can click this to be taken somewhere, so, by we thought of adding a line of text 'Click a map'.

Does this then fail because we have had to tell the user what to do? I tend to disagree. For me, somehow, it feels like a more personal experience because we are helping the user. Speaking to them directly.

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