Last week I have given my first KC presentation within AMIS on the subject of Contingency Design. Some 15 people were present and even 2 outsiders showed up! It proved to be a very interesting evening and apparently this subject caused strong feelings with the contenders, causing lively discussions! In fact, my presentation triggered Arjaan, AMIS colleague, to present his own KC in the near future on the subject of usability especially for webshops. On top of that, Reinier, one of our account managers, has asked me to come up with a plan for a contingency scan product plan for AMIS. So hopefully soon AMIS will be offering the AMIS Contingency Design Scan!
Contingency Design is designing websites for when things go wrong. The thought behind contingency design is that there is no such thing as a perfect website, how carefully designed even. Visitors will always get into trouble by either their own fault or because of the website itself. Contingency design offers visitors help to solve their problems.
In our day to day live we are daily confronted with contingency issues, though we never seem to notice them as such. Think of spare parts or an emergency aggregate. They help us when we get into trouble. Or even think about traffic signs. They help us to prevent getting into trouble. So how come contingency most of the times is not incorporated into websites? How many times have you had the following feelings or thoughts?
- This is not what I was looking for!
- Did I place that order or not?
- How do I get back to the starting page?
- I have lost all my filled in data in that form!
- Where is the page I clicked on?
My presentation contained a lot of guidelines and examples of good contingency design but most of all many examples of poor contingency design. So feel free to download my full presentation and use it to your advantage!