Satisficing

Your constantly-updated definition of Satisficing and collection of topical content and literature

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What is Satisficing?

Satisficing describes a decision-making strategy where individuals only search for possible solutions until they find an acceptable option. In design, the term is often used to describe the way in which users do not go through all information on webpages and other products. Rather, they stop reading once they believe they have found enough information for their purpose.

Satisficing is a combination of the words “suffice” and “satisfy”; it was first described by economist and psychologist Herbert A. Simon. According to Simon, people do not seek the best possible solutions to problems; instead, they operate within what he has called “bounded rationality” (where time, cognitive limitations, and control over the situation play a factor in decision making). This concept is evident in the design world in general—goods offered to customers who use them within certain parameters. For example, the best solution for a leaking pipe is replacement; however, if a homeowner is seeking to “make do” in the meantime by patching a slight, slow leak with plumber’s goop, he will purchase what he deems will “do the job.”

The human tendency to satisfice has a large impact on UX design. In fact, several key usability principles, such as “offering the right information in a timely manner” and “making actions as easy to perform as possible,” are based on the satisficing behavior of users. Most conventional wisdom relating to writing for the web (e.g., starting with the main idea before elaborating) is also modeled with satisficing in mind. The concept of satisficing also tells us that users will not stay on a product (e.g., your site’s landing page) for long, or continue reading a webpage—unless the rewards are obvious and substantial, or the cost of doing so (in terms of time and effort) has been made minimal for them.

Literature on Satisficing

Here’s the entire UX literature on Satisficing by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Satisficing

Take a deep dive into Satisficing with our course UI Design Patterns for Successful Software.

Who should take this course

This is a beginner-level course suitable for newcomers to user interface design and experienced practitioners alike:

  • UX and UI designers interested in using the right UI design patterns to create optimal product designs
  • Project managers keen on incorporating tried and tested UI design patterns to speed up and optimize the product development process
  • Software engineers looking to boost their skill sets and gain a foundational understanding of user interface design
  • Entrepreneurs who want to make sure their products have the appropriate user interface for maximum success
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX or UI design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

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