Need for Certainty
What is the Need for Certainty?
One of the most fundamental aspects of human psychology is making predictions about the future. When we are able to accurately interpret our circumstances and make good predictions, we feel safe and secure. It fulfils our Need for Certainty which can be linked to Maslow’s need for safety. When we are unable to do so, we feel anxious.
Because of this, most people experience a sensation of reward when they are able to understand a process, anticipate an outcome and complete a sequence. This is described as “Cognitive Closure.” When an outcome is uncertain, or the mechanics behind it are hidden, people experience frustration and anxiety.
When designing an interface or a website, it is important to remember that people expect to understand the process behind any interactions they have with it. If you ask them for information, they want to know where it will go and how it will be used. Similarly, users will be more satisfied by registration or booking systems that clearly explain those processes.
When designing a CTA button it is important to be clear about the function that will take place when the button is pressed. Whilst users will be intrigued by an interesting Call To Action, they will avoid one that does not explain its function clearly.
The same preference for coherent systems and sequences can be applied to the way you offer discounts or price reductions. If customers are unsure why an item is reduced, or suspect the current price might change without an explanation, they will be less likely to engage with your offer. Although discounts are an enticing prospect for consumers, they also expect pricing to be based on a fair and consistent structure.
Need for Certainty
Hidden causes and uncertain outcomes can create frustration and anxiety. Making processes transparent is the best way to improve user experiences and reduce abandoned sessions.