The pandemic and the isolation we are going through have affected everyone’s perception. Not only due to our own and unique personal experiences but also to how the media is managing communications. Key moments have been used to create a kind of urgency around coronavirus. That is the reason why now, more than ever, slanted news coverage and dark UX can impact our minds in a negative way. Dashboard designs can drive the users’ delicate perception into a generalized panic result. What can we do as content creators and designers to take care of users and make sure we won’t affect their perception in a negative way?
User behavior trends during Coronavirus
To better understand how communications are impacting people now, it’s important to know that user pattern behaviors have changed. We are living in a new “normal” order and this has affected the way we interact with people and tech. According to Angellist.co, we can identify the following user behavior changes due to the pandemic:
- People spend more money on app stores.
- The time we use for social apps and video streaming has increased a lot.
- Apps that used to be only for collaboration inside companies are now known by households and employed for diverse reasons.
- People are eager for information and news.
- E-sports are thriving.
We’d like to add to this list that sales have migrated to e-commerce and grocery-delivery apps. As we can see, we are now paying a lot more attention than before to online content and spending so much more time “wired”. In this scenery, content should be handled in a more delicate and considered way to prevent a negative impact on users.
Not long ago I took a look at a very didactic presentation I found at Growth Design. Here’s a brief resume of what they said:
If you watch the TV, you can be surprised by headlines like “No symptoms and dead in hours”. As it’s easier for us to retain new information, no matter if we have done some research, our brain will keep this event highlighted with a certain magnitude. This will influence your previous and future knowledge about the disease.
So that first event will trigger your concern and you may wanna go online to dig more, contrast, and iron out your fears. Surprisingly you won’t find anything more relaxing. Scary maps all marked out in red (with no proportion to the real statistics), real-time maps with frightening figures (also in red)… Everything will make look the world as if we were inside The Walking Dead or facing the apocalypse.
It would be worse if we already were scared about the virus because the Confirmation BIAS tends to mixture your beliefs with the objective facts. You would be perceiving that which dark UX along with your preconceptions are crafting together, anchoring your thoughts with the information you have just received, ignoring the actual facts.
How can we help as content designers?
Unluckily in most cases, the information is displayed in this way specially designed to create an alarm on people. How can we help as content designers?
- Choose the most visually representative layouts.
- Use colors that won’t generate an instant visual alarm.
- Highlight the positive aspects of the information you are sharing.
- Make sure every fact is double-checked.
- Link to sources of trust and provide margin errors.
As UX content writers and designers, we should be thinking that a real scared person is looking at the information on the other side, and should be respecting the human side of the creation we are developing. We encourage you to provide some other examples of bad use of UX during the pandemic! How would you improve that by doing a humanized use of UX?