Have you ever tried to catch up with the news, only to scan headlines rather than reading through articles? Did you ever Google something, and not bother looking past the first page of search results? Have you ever gone online to price a product, and only checked two or three sites rather than the top ten listed?
Then you have been guilty of satisficing!
Don’t worry, though — it’s a totally normal human thing to do. And although it’s a rather obscure term, if you manage website content, you should know what satisficing means.
According to Wikipedia, satisficing is a combination of the words “satisfy” and “sufficing,” and is defined as a decision-making strategy that entails meeting a minimum level of acceptability, as opposed to seeking the best alternative available. In other words, it’s the human tendency to expend the lowest amount of energy to complete a task.
Basically, satisficing is a fancy way of explaining why people tend to be lazy!
Of course, we may prefer to think of satisficing as being expedient or time-efficient… The fact is, life in the digital age tends to be pretty frenzied for most people, and taking the time to thoroughly examine and consider each and every detail simply isn’t feasible — so we get by with “satisficing.”
But when it comes to getting data from your website users through an online form, the tendency to satisfice is more than an oversight: it can result in data errors! So it’s important to know how to create forms that help to circumvent the satisficing habit.
Remember: people overwhelmingly dislike to fill out lengthy forms! Here are a few important ways to satisfice-proof your online forms: