Go Back to a Safe Place
Context: The artifact allows a user to move through
spaces (as in Navigable Spaces), or
steps (as in Step-by-Step Instructions),
or a linear Narrative, or discrete states;
the artifact also has one or more checkpoints in that set of spaces.
The "Home" button on a Web browser
Turning back to the beginning of a chapter in a physical book or magazine
The "Revert" feature on some computer applications
Problem: How can the artifact make navigation
easy, convenient, and psychologically safe for the user?
Solution: Provide a way to go back to a checkpoint
of the user's choice. That checkpoint may be a home page, a saved
file or state, the logical beginning of a section of narrative or a set
of steps. Ideally, it could be whatever state or space a user chooses
to declare as a checkpoint.
A user that explores a complex artifact, or tries many state-changing operations,
may literally get lost.
A user may forget where they were, if they stop using the artifact while
they're in the middle of something and don't get back to it for a while.
If the user gets into a space or a state that they don't want to be in,
they will want to get out of it in a safe and predictable way.
The user is more likely to explore an artifact if they are assured that
they can easily get out of an undesired state or space; that assurance
engenders a feeling of security.
Backtracking out of a long navigation path can be very tedious.
Resulting Context: Go
Back One Step is a natural adjunct to this pattern, and is often found
along with it. For non-Narrative use, Interaction
History is useful too, almost to the point of making Go Back to a Safe
Place unnecessary: it may actually help a "lost" user figure out
where they are, for instance, or remind an interrupted user of where they
are and what they've done.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified May 17, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999 by Jenifer Tidwell. All rights reserved.