How To Avoid “Satisficing” Online Forms

Lazy-Cat-1280x1024Have 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:

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5 Awesome Free Image Resources

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image courtesy gratisography.com

If you’re in charge of managing content for a website, social media, or newsletter, you know how important quality images are to getting the attention of your readers. And you also know how difficult it can be to find quality images on a tight budget!

When it comes to image resources, “too much is never enough!” So here are a few links to sites that offer free images for use under public domain or Creative Commons licenses (click on the link for details about what CC is all about).

Unsplash

Beautiful high-resolution scenics and landscapes; ten photos uploaded every ten days.

PicDrome

Public domain photography, including textures and abstracts

 Gratisography

Clever high-resolution photographs by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design (make sure to view his site in “Adorable Mode!”)

Minicons

A couple hundred nifty icons to spice up ho-hum layouts

Lost & Taken

A nice collection of textures you can use to layer for dramatic effects

 

Thank you to all the creatives who have generously shared their work!

 

A Little Something To Think About: Microsites

One of the great things about the open-source CMS solutions we work with here at Sanmita is that they’re so easy to use. With a minimal amount of training, anyone accustomed to using a computer for word processing or email can be shown how to update content on their website. And keeping content fresh and up to date is crucial for your users and SEO!

Leaving content management all in the hands of one person is fine for a smaller organization, but when you start talking about a complex site such as for a university, the sheer amount of continual updates to personnel, publications, events, etc. can become cumbersome, if not impossible, for one person to deal with.

little thingsOne way to make it easier to keep a complex website up to date is to create microsites — smaller, multi-page sites with their own dedicated navigation within the larger website.

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Why You Should Get Excited About Information Architecture

Information Architecture, or IA, is one of those vague-sounding terms which can seem to spiral off into abstraction when you read about it. Even a simple definition can sound pretty yawn-worthy:

“Information architecture is a combination of organizing a site’s content into categories and creating an interface to support those categories*”

Wordle.net-IA-TaxonomyIn reality though, well-planned and executed IA is a vital aspect of development that’s crucial to website success.

First of all, let’s dispel the myth that IA is some kind of techy mumbo jumbo that’s expressed only via convoluted flow charts.

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Engage With Your Web Visitors By Providing Interactive Web Elements

I recently attended a seminar with a variety of different presenters and topics. I was really excited about all the different workshops I’d chosen to attend, but at the end of the day, one really stood out from the rest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in a good way!

All the workshops followed a somewhat similar formula: there was a presentation, followed by an activity, ending with sharing among the participants. All the workshops except for one, that is. In that workshop, the presenter simply gave a lecture without any interactivity or sharing. And despite dealing with a fascinating topic, the consensus was that particular workshop stood out as weak and boring in comparison to the others. Attendants felt that interactivity and sharing within their groups, on any level, made the workshops much more rewarding.

The appeal of interactivity is especially strong in the web world. Think about it: even little things like mouseover effects or drop-down menus somehow make your visit to a site just a bit more personalized and interesting, don’t they? And consider having the opportunity to express your opinion — whether in the real world or in the social media world, being able to express yourself makes a visit more meaningful, compared to just watching or listening, right?

So when one of our clients asked the other day if there were ways they could incorporate more interactive elements on their website, we were happy to help!

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Every Project Has A Story To Tell

Sanmita PortfolioWhen you’ve developed as many websites as we have, you can’t help but marvel at how each individual project presents a unique set of challenges, circumstances and achievements. Each one really does have its own story — and people love to hear stories!

An online portfolio is an excellent way to showcase achievements and build credibility with your users. Individual stories can take the abstraction out of your content and make it more relevant to your audience. And don’t forget SEO — external links always help to improve your rankings!

Take a little stroll through the portfolio section of our website, and click on an image to read the case history. Each is a little story about the particular issue or issues we had to address, and what we did to find a solution.

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Sanmita To The Rescue!

Imagine building a great website that attracts 99% of your business. The site is powered by a really nifty tool that beautifully showcases your products.

Now, imagine that the creator of that tool decides to pull the plug and remove it from the web entirely, effectively removing all your products from the internet? And just to make things interesting, you’re given only 30 days to find another solution and get it online?

Unfortunately, this is no imaginary situation!

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Web-Based Technologies Are Shaping The Future of Higher Education. Is Your College Ready?

Since 2012, the nonprofit open online course (MOOC) provider known as edX has partnered with over 50 institutions and attracted some 2.5 million students from every country in the world.  The combination of new technologies applied to non-traditional learning methods is proving to be a revolutionizing force in higher education.

At a recent Campus Technology Conference, edX CEO Anant Agarwal told participants that the methods being used by edX can be incorporated within a blended learning environment to improve student success rates and better understand student learning behavior.

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Sanmita Launches Newly Remodeled Website

Have you ever watched one of those home remodeling shows? Where an interior designer comes into an ordinary house and during the course of a week, transforms it into a fresh, gorgeous showcase that hardly resembles what it was before? Although the basic structure remains the same, everything is more efficient, better organized and much more inviting for guests. And they do it on a limited budget!

Now think about your website. It’s basically the online home for your organization. Has it become stale? Cluttered? Out of fashion? Do visitors find your site interesting and appealing, and are they able to easily find what they’re looking for? If you think your site is starting to look a little dowdy, it’s time for a website remodel!

 

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Curtains Raise on Wharton Studio Museum Website

Wharton Studio WebsiteCongratulations to the Wharton Studio Museum on the launch of their beautiful new website! Visit http://www.whartonstudiomuseum.org/ to have a look at all the exciting new features, including a Facebook feed, integrated donation engine, and events and news feeds. We love the crisp, clean design and bold colors that make navigating around the site so easy and fun. There’s a wealth of fascinating historical information, too. For example, how about that time in 1915 when dozens of skunks were rented from a skunk farm and brought onto a set…! More about that in just a bit…

We’re especially excited about how well our WordPlus CMS works for this project. WSM needed a site that was dynamic and flexible to accommodate expansion as the museum grows. They also needed to make it easy for supporters to donate online and see upcoming events — all on a limited budget. These goals were met and exceeded by Sanmita’s innovative WordPlus application.

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