Card #51

Need for Certainty

We crave certainty and are more likely to take action if specific information is available.

How might this apply to the Web?

Ambiguity can trigger a threat response resulting in anxiety. Used in small doses — such as a curious challenge — mild uncertainty can focus attention (especially where people have developed routines). But ambiguity may also lead to inaction: people are less likely to act on vague information. What information do you provide to help people make decisions? Are you intentionally creating an environment of certainty or uncertainty?

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