Welcome back. In this lecture, we are going to be discussing another key concept in user interaction design, the notion of defaults. Modern technologies are highly complex. It's not unusual for even a mobile application to have dozens of settings. For something like, if you think about operating system or modern phone, there are even hundreds of settings that can be configured to change the behavior of that system. The notion of the defaults refers to the preset state of those system inputs that embody needed technology before the user actively changes them. The state of inputs reflects the designer's assumptions about the needs, and expectations, and preferences of the majority of the system's target users. Or the desired behavior that the designer is trying to encourage. So, defaults really refer to what the state of the system is before the user actively tries to change that state. Figuring out what the default configuration of a certain system needs to be is one of the absolutely crucial tasks of a UX designer. Why is that the case? There are several reasons for this. The first reason for this is that the defaults completely shape the out of box experience of a technology. So, the defaults are really how the technology works when the user first encounters it, and what is going to shape the perception of the user and the user experience of that technology when the user first starts to use it. The examples of this is if you think about a modern phone such as an iPhone, a lot of these settings are being set in advance without ever asking the user how to make changes to them. So, the ringer is turned to on, keyboard clicks are turned to on to provide feedback when the user is typing. The search engine in the browser is set to Google. Cellular data roaming is turned off so that the user does not inadvertently end up getting charged for the data if they're across the border. And do not disturb setting which cuts down on notifications is turned off because the assumption is that when they first start using the phone, the users will want to actually get phone calls and text messages, and other component of communication that the phone supports. So, this out of box experience is completely shaped by these and many other settings that were configured in the system while at the factory, while before the user ever encountered it. Another reason that defaults are important is because they decrease the time that it takes for the user to start using a technology. Here's just a very simple example of this. In the next version of Heart Steps, the system that we have been discussing in this course. There is a set of configuration parameters that determine when the activity suggestions are going to be sent to users on weekdays and on weekends. We originally considered asking users to manually enter the time for these decision times. But then we realized that it's better to just give them smart defaults, and then they can only change the ones that don't work with them. So, this decreases the time from having to actively change 10 data points. In this case, 10 times 4. When activity suggestion can be sent to them to only changing the ones that are not adequately set at the beginning. If you think of a more complex technology such as a modern mobile phone, asking people to explicitly set each and every setting that is needed for the system to work would take a long long time, and it will completely destroy the user experience of the technology. So, smart defaults that adequately cover most users are really important to configure. One of the most important reasons why defaults are really crucial is that they're very very rarely changed. This is extremely important to remember. So, what you see on the screen here is an article by Jared Spool who is a prominent interaction designer who used to work at Microsoft in the early days of Microsoft Office Suite. Who said that at one point in the early days of Microsoft Word, they did an experiment with users where they would basically collect the configuration files that Microsoft Word saved, where all of the settings that the user changed were recorded. They realized that under five percent of all the users of Microsoft Word can actually change any settings at all. These numbers could actually stay pretty much constant since then. So, only a tiny percentage of users ever make a change with a technology from the configuration which that technology arrives. Which basically means that the default will for most people, most of the time, completely determine how that technology is going to work for them. Which means that the responsibilities on the designer to make sure the defaults are set in a way that optimize the user experience and allow users to have both a good experience of the system and to feel that the system is serving their needs appropriately. But there are also other reasons. One is that defaults can have far-reaching consequences. The main reason for that is precisely the fact that they're so rarely changed. So, what you have here is a screenshot of a post window from a mobile version of Facebook from a few years ago, at the time when Facebook still defaulted to that all postings to Facebook were public. Which basically means that if a person wanted to post something to Facebook but make it only visible to their friends or some group, they would have to pull down that little pull-down menu that is displayed on the screen, and change it to from public to friends or one of the other settings. If they don't do that, and doing this is work, their postings would by default be visible to anyone on Facebook. What that meant is that many people inadvertently they posted things on Facebook that was visible to others that they never intended to share beyond their friend group, and that there were far-reaching consequences of that including potentially people getting fired, getting in trouble with friends and so on. Another version of this is that the default configuration of the cookies that modern Web browsers have. Until very recently, most Web browsers shipped with all cookies being permitted to remain on the machine indefinitely. So, it was a completely permissive policy where both the first cooperate party cookies and third party cookies were just allowed to remain on the machine, which led to the development of cross site tracking of users by advertisement companies, and extremely decreased the amount to privacy that users of Web browsers have. So, simple design decisions when software is being cross created can have profound consequences on the users well beyond what the designers sometimes initially envision. Finally, defaults tend to shape behavior in pretty significant ways. One really nice example of this is what happened with New York City's cabs a few years ago when the credit card transactions changed from the driver needing to swipe the credit card on the little credit card terminal that they had in front of the car, and just have the passenger sign a credit card receipt to touch screen devices in the back of the car where the passenger could process the transaction on their own. What happened when those terminals were put in is that they came with pre-configured tip amounts. So, when you paid for the cab ride, the little screen would pop up and ask you whether you want to leave a 20 percent tip, or 25 percent tip, a 30 percent tip, or a custom tip amount. Which basically meant that for custom tip amount, you actually had to do some work on pressing the custom tip amount button, then deciding exactly how much you want to tip and then tipping. What most people ended up doing is they would choose one of the pre-configured tip amounts. So, either 20 or 25 percent most often. And very very quickly, the average percentage of tipping with New York City cabs went from about 10 percent to 22 percent, more than doubled just by how the system for processing the credit card transaction was designed. So, from explicitly needing to put the tip amount on the credit card receipt, to having pre-configured tip amounts that a person would just choose by a press of a button, the amount of money that people were spending doubled on the tip. Lastly, there is a large conversation in the design community around defaults embodying biases. This is something that is really important for designers to keep in mind because how we design systems often have profound consequences both for who is included and who is excluded, as well as what kind of behaviors ended up getting encouraged versus discouraged. So, the simplest example of this is how most of the cameras are physically designed, where the assumption is that they're going to be mostly used by right-handed people. That's why the grip corresponds to the right hand. So, for left-handed people, they either have to train themselves to use a camera with a right-handed grip, or to look for cameras which are a lot more infrequently found that do not have this kind of configuration. But more subtle versions of this exist as well. We just discussed this notion of tipping, which ended up basically encouraging people to tip more than they were used to. Default configurations of things like notifications have profound effects about how much individuals are being interrupted, whether their lives ended up being calmed versus disrupted. All right. So, by there are certain kinds of biases that are embedded in technologies through defaults that end up permeating both the user experience and can have both consequences beyond the technology itself. So, how defaults are set is profoundly important and designers need to think about these defaults very carefully. So, to summarize, defaults determine user experience of a technology to a great extent. They're very rarely changed, and thus they need to be thoroughly thought through when the technology is first being designed. They can also have consequences well beyond the technology, such as on people's privacy, on their saving versus spending behavior, on their disruption versus calm they feel, and so on. All this makes the configuration of defaults a really key design tasks, and something that all designers need to think through very very carefully whenever they're designing a new system. Thanks for watching, and see you next time.