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Desire paths lightning talk

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A short 5 min lightning talk looking at desire paths, and why they are of interest to UX designers. A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by …

A short 5 min lightning talk looking at desire paths, and why they are of interest to UX designers. A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The key to the desire path is not just that it’s a path which one person or a group has made but that it’s done against the will of some authority which would have us go another, rather less convenient way.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

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  • A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The key to the desire path is not just that it’s a path which one person or a group has made but that it’s done against the will of some authority which would have us go another, rather less convenient, way.Notice that even with a small barrier in the way, a little desire line has formed.
  • So why do we need to bother about desire paths? Just consider the uproar over the new Windows 8 interface…In their infinite wisdom Microsoft replaced the much used start button with a start screen.Users desired their program short cuts – they didn’t want to follow Microsoft’s new path.Cue much uproar from disgruntled users.You can even download applications to re-instate a start button.
  • Another example is form input and errorsTake date entryBy tracking the date format used we can determine the desire path for entering a dateFor example, shorthand year, dash or slash?
  • Desire paths can also help show how users are navigating a website, or applicationOf course we can’t see a well trodden trail, but analytics and web logs show the paths that users are takingFor example, we try to push users to searching for a hotel via the holidays search bar, but we might find that the desire path is to use the site search, or browse to the hotel
  • Transcript

    • 1. Desire paths Neil Turner Jan 2014
    • 2. What’s a desire path?
    • 3. Where’s my start button?
    • 4. How do users enter their date of birth?
    • 5. 1. Holiday search 2. Site search 3. Browse via destinations How do users get to a hotel?
    • 6. Uncovering desire paths • Analytics • Internal search logs • In-bound searches • Error logs • Remote user testing • Session replay • User feedback