Adapting To Change

December 22, 2014In User Interface Design3 Minutes

As we approach the new year, we find the term “adaptive” popping up more and more. What does it truly mean? Moving with the times? An intricate dance that brings mutual benefit to the user and developer? Adapting and flowing within a layout and elements that cater to the user’s needs and altering to each user?

All of the above.

These two qualities of adapting and being adaptable are innate to elements that are a part of the interface’s components – in a well-designed interface, each portion adapts and affects the others, weaving together to create an efficiently-running web environment.

Clarifying confusion for all users is a critical point within web developmentcreating a clean, smooth experience involves careful consideration from all angles. Among many other advantages, an adaptive user interface can conform to a user’s needs. This conformity shows only relevant information based on that user, eliminating difficult specifications and increasing ease of access throughout the system while increasing stability.

Two elements within the adaptive user interface/experience make a critical difference in the information available to those users. Adaptive presentation, which is exactly what it sounds like – displaying information specific to each user. Individuals with basic knowledge of the system they’re interacting with will only see the minimum amount of information; users with a more advanced grasp will be shown a more detailed interface (with more information and capabilities).

Adaptive navigation guides the user toward their goals within the system by adapting how the system is navigated – all depending on the specific user who is steering. Of course, this all can depend on the user’s personal expertise level with the system (or related subjects) and the intended goal of the user/designer, among other factors. To assist a user in achieving his end goal, “hints” can be given by the interface – links can be used as a trail to reach the end or to help someone find their way back to the origin of their web journey.

Adaptive user interfaces can be implemented in any instance where the audience would benefit from a personalized UI. When wanting to zero in on the best user experience for a dynamic audience, providing that specification will grant brand credibility, authenticity and compassion.

Designer's computer desk workstation setup.

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