The principle of providing consumers with choices is generally considered beneficial, as it can contribute to a more personalized and satisfying user experience. However, an excess of options can paradoxically add complexity to the design of a product or service, potentially leaving users feeling overwhelmed and perplexed. This could be particularly problematic in applications where clear, easy-to-navigate design is a necessity.
To address this issue, designers often employ a technique called “progressive disclosure.” This strategy is characterized by three key components: the introduction of more stages or steps, the allocation of more user control, and the creation of more divisions or partitions of information.
The purpose of progressive disclosure is to mitigate the potential confusion stemming from an overabundance of options. It ensures that users aren’t bombarded with information or decisions they don’t yet need, allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand.
The language-learning app Duolingo provides an excellent example of how progressive disclosure can be implemented effectively. Rather than presenting all available lessons at once, Duolingo encourages learners to build their skills gradually. The app restricts access to more advanced content until the user has successfully completed simpler tasks, sequentially unlocking new material as previous sections are completed.
This approach ensures that users are guided through their learning journey, with the app presenting a variety of questions and tests that incrementally assess their progress. As a result, users always have a clear understanding of their current location within the app, as well as their next steps.
The benefits of progressive disclosure are manifold. It assists in centering the user’s attention on the most important elements, thereby reducing the learning curve for newcomers. Furthermore, it enhances the efficiency of your product by keeping users focused on core functionalities. This reduces the likelihood of users straying off course and becoming entangled in less important features, thus improving the overall effectiveness and satisfaction derived from using the product.