Tammy Guy Design | When Online Behavior Becomes Second Nature
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LinkedIn’s messaging center recently shook up the function of the return key, causing users to make errors and feel apprehensive about future usage of the chat feature.

30 Mar When Online Behavior Becomes Second Nature

Internet usage has been part of our daily lives long enough that people have adopted certain learned behaviors that by now have become second nature to them.

Think about your morning routine. Mine feels as if I am on autopilot mode as I get up from bed and immediately walk to the kitchen where I turn on the coffee pot and grab my favorite mug.  Compare this to online shopping – users browse and place items in the cart and when ready to checkout, their eyes as if on autopilot mode, gaze to the top right corner of the screen looking to find the little shopping cart icon. This learned behavior is acquired with time and with repetitive web site visits and is due to consistency in UI elements from one site to the next.

Humans need consistency in order to be able follow their second nature habits. When habits or repetitive functions are established, they are effortless. If my coffee pot would be placed at a different side of the counter each morning, it would shake up my routine and require some effort locating it. With e-commerce, if the shopping cart was placed at a different location on each web site, users would have to hunt for it separately on each site which will cause delay in their shopping experience and most likely frustration, leading to potential abandonment.

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