Part IV. Provide an Invitation

Recently I had the chance to travel to Germany. It had been over 15 years since my last trip, so one of the things on my agenda was to take some time and tour by car. Not wanting to figure out local maps or ask for directions, I requested a car with a GPS navigational system.

The system turned out to be dead simple. However, at first I was disappointed: it did not contain a street map view. Instead it displayed a simplified set of arrows indicating the correct turn and audible instructions just when I needed it. But the system worked perfectly. I found the experience delightful. Instead of trying to look at an in-dash map, I simply let it tell me what to do next. It provided just the right amount of directions without taking away my travel experience.

One reason I needed these just-in-time cues was due to lack of familiarity with the streets of Germany. Being in an environment with different cultural conventions (not the least of which was the language barrier) added to its total necessity. If I moved to Germany, learned the language, and used the roads on a daily basis, then my dependence on the GPS would diminish.

We need a similar experience for our web applications.

An Invitation

In earlier chapters we discussed Drag and Drop, Inline Editing, and Contextual Tools, as well as other patterns of interaction. A common problem with many of these rich interactions is their lack of discoverability.

Let’s look again at the way Flickr introduces the ability to ...

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