User flow with decision points

Function Allocation

Function Allocation is the process of deciding whether users or technology are responsible for a function, and to what degree. Factors in the decision include technological restrictions, the likelihood of user mistakes, ethical considerations, user effort and motivation, technological effort, and financial costs.

For example, many phone number form fields require formatted input (i.e. “321-555-0987”), or the form generates an error. The product should be able to take any valid sequence of numbers and put them into the proper format, reducing work for the user and lowering the error rate.

Users expect that the designers have done their best to help users. When work that could be better performed by the product is left to the user, the user is left with the sense that the designer doesn’t care. It is generally best for the product to do as much processing work as possible, freeing up the user’s mind for decision-making work.

Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

Clock Icon

Schedule Time:

  • Time Needed: 8 Hours
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • Spreadsheet

Carry Out This Method

Flow chart doodled on a napkin
  1. Identify functions that either user or software can perform or share. (From Heuristic Analysis, Voice of Customer feedback, Stakeholder Interviews.)
  2. Consider how the product can perform the function.
  3. Identify information that can be automatically formatted.
  4. Identify information the product can automatically display based on other information entered.
  5. Identify information the product can automatically correct based on other information entered. Identify information the product can store in memory.
  6. Create a standard for how incorrect formatting will be handled, either with correction or communication to the user.
  7. Create a standard for how data entry errors will be handled.
  8. Record the results of your analysis and deliver to stakeholders for discussion and prioritization.

Try These Tips

  • A product should anticipate a user’s needs. It should remember information a user has entered and not force the user to enter it again.
  • Don’t focus on the task as “the user enters their phone number.” Instead, think of it as “system gets the user’s phone number.” Ask yourself, does the user need to fill out the phone number or can I retrieve it from an existing source?

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Shipping & Delivery

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