Userhub

Why Anticipatory Design? Why Now?

 The word anticipatory comes from the Latin anticipare, which means “taking care of ahead of time.” We normally associate it with something that happens, is performed or felt in anticipation of something.

Anticipatory design is where decisions are made and executed on behalf of the user. The goal is not to help the user make a decision, but to create an ecosystem where a decision is never made — it happens automatically and without user input.

Anticipatory design is fundamentally different: decisions are made and executed on behalf of the user. The goal is not to help the user make a decision, but to create an ecosystem where a decision is never made—it happens automatically and without user input. The design goal becomes one where we eliminate as many steps as possible and find ways to use data, prior behaviors and business logic to have things happen automatically, or as close to automatic as we can get.

Take booking a flight as an example. Rather than being given options—airline, time, seat location—an anticipatory approach would be to automatically monitor the user’s calendar, and book a ticket when a meeting is scheduled in a location that requires air travel. Seat preference, preferred airlines, the decision between price and a specific flight time are all based on prior travel behavior and payment information can be electronically transmitted.

Since anticipation is based on prior knowledge, the user may initially be asked for feedback on the choice before or after booking, but once the system is reasonably accurate the job will be done without question. The result is a fully designed system that performs a powerful set of functionality without the need for step-by-step interaction.

We can see the beginning stages of anticipatory design hitting the mainstream market in the form of greater personalization. Amazon’s recommended products and Netflix’s top picks offer us choices based on previous purchases and viewing habits, are shaping what we expect from online services. But these types of optimizations are simply training wheels for anticipatory design, prompting us to make more (in some cases harder) decisions, rather than making the process easier.

The design goal becomes one where we eliminate as many steps as possible and find ways to use data, prior behaviors, and business logic to make things happen automatically, or as close to automatic as we can get.

Source – fastcodedesign, smashingmagazine