The paradox of the guided user: assistance can be counter-effective

14Oct08
assistance can be counter-effective

The paradox of the guided user: assistance can be counter-effective

Came across a very interesting thesis written by Christof van Nimwegen on providing assistance in user interfaces.

To get to the point: If you help the user too much they won´t learn and remember. If you let him learn by himself with minimal clues he will be able to work faster, with interruptions and will remember how to use for a longer period of time.

Makes sense: driving a car needs quite something to learn, you hardly forget and you can do it while singing along the radio. Imagine a car with instructions on the steering wheel, the pedals and the gear stick.

So what can be a solution: At an initial stage teach people how to use it or give them easy access to instructions, and during normal/repetitive use give the minimal necessary feedback so they can work fast.

> Download the PDF here

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One Response to “The paradox of the guided user: assistance can be counter-effective”


  1. 1 The command line/search box as the solution to everything « SaaS User Experience and User interface Design

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