Behavioural Pattern: Satisficing
User goal: efficient decision making
Satisficing is a decision-making strategy commonly known in economics. However, it’s behavioural concept also applies in UX. It means that a user “aims for a satisfactory or adequate result, rather than the optimal solution.“
The word “satisficing“ derives from a mix between satisfying and sufficing. The subconscious rational is to reduce effort rather than learning something complex at the cost of energy and effort. Especially if the reward seems unproportional.
The actual time people spend on webpages varies greatly. A user will, for instance, spend more time on a page when the information is life-changing to them. However, the “average page visit lasts less than a minute – but many are 10 seconds or less“.
Utilizing satisficing in UX
Satisficing assumes that users will choose the first attainable resolution that meets basic acceptable outcomes. In other words, users will scan interfaces quickly. Then, they’ll clicking on the first thing they see if it’s likely to be “good enough”.
If there were no cost to infinite research, we would probably not have to worry about satisficing. Of course, in reality every interface imposes an interaction cost. And users weigh that cost – consciously or subconsciously.
To design for deeper engagement – both in websites and applications – there are two main strategies:
- Reducing interaction cost:
Make it easier for users to process information, by reducing text and guiding them through via CTAs. Further, create easy to navigate menus and fall back on habituation patterns.
- Increasing benefits: Keep information concise and to the point. Make use of sorting functionality to produce results faster. Finally, focus on your users goal.
Ultimately, satisficing is all about reducing the cognitive effort while guiding users to their goal. Employ UI/UX strategies like the ones below to achieve these results more quickly. And, make use of focus groups and usability testing for optimal results.
- Inverted pyramid (provide concise summaries early, so users can extract meaning fast)
- Clear CTAs
- Utilize layout to support meaning
- Easy navigation
- Utilize habituation
- Utilize sorting functionality where possible