Predictability

Predictability links closely to learnability. Users have come to expect certain things from websites, for example we have grown to expect that menus will have hierarchy and react to your click in certain ways. Dramatic re-inventions elements that we have become used to (menus…) create confusion and uncertainty. However the predictability can be adjusted slightly to create quirky and niche features that draw the user back to the site.

Good Example of Predictability

www.gov.uk

In 2013 the British Government relaunched gov.uk with the user at the forefront of the journey. The earlier versions of the website were a jumbled mess of new tabs and information that was hard to find (and not very useful). The new version of the site is now the essence of predictability. Supported by a powerful database, users click the clearly labelled area of government they need to access, input minimal personal details and the website does the rest. It is intuitive, instinctive, and requires no explanation. Even someone adverse to websites would manage to find their way.

Bad Example

http://art.yale.edu/Home

Its not clear if the Yale School of Art is part of an art project or they just think this is a good way to design a website. Essentially, the flaw in this site lies in the fact that any Yale staff member or student in the design faculty can edit the design and layout. Each page has a different background, text colour, position of the navigation bar, layout of the page assets and more. The result is an unpredictable mess.