How CRUD Is Your Design?Feb 8, 2011 In Process By Daniel Ritzenthaler
If you’re a software developer or know one well, the acronym CRUD — Create, Read, Update and Delete — is burned into your vocabulary. These are some of the foundational elements of good software development, and each provides ways to keep your audience engaged.
When you take any one of these elements away from your users, there’s a good chance you’ll diminish the value of their experience. Here’s why.
When your audience isn’t allowed or doesn’t know how to contribute, they become passive bystanders. Your website or application no longer provides an interaction or dialogue and it probably won’t lead to a meaningful user experience.
The more you treat your audience as equals, the better. If you’re a news community like Newsvine, invite your users to create news. If you’re a information community like Wikipedia, invite your audience to create information. If you sell products like Amazon, make ratings and reviews an important part of the interface.
Confidence erodes when people can’t see data they’ve added to a website or application. They scratch their heads, wondering: Did it work? Did I do it right?
When uncertainty creeps in,people tend to blame themselves or the tool they’re using. Both scenarios are problematic,so show users where their data goes and how they can get back to it in the future.
"There are just some things you can’t take back." This philosophy applies in the real world, but it should be avoided in a website or application.
People get nervous when they think an error they’ve made will become a permanent part of the system. So be liberal with your editing tools, and don’t hide them behind drop-downs, roll-overs or tool-tips.
People don’t like screwing up, especially in public. The ability to remove data will bring a serious dose of confidence to anyone creating content within a system. If you show them they can’t make a mistake, they’ll be much more likely to participate and give even more data.
CRUD As A Measure Of Control
There are scenarios where CRUD isn’t relevant: activity streams, automated recommendations, etc. These types of content can be interesting, exciting and even addictive, but be careful not to let them take over your website or application. Once your audience’s threshold of perceived control is lost, they’ll loose interest and move on.
So… How do you keep your audience engaged? How do you encourage them to participate? Remember, the amount of data that can be created, read, updated or deleted on your website is directly related to how in-control your audience will feel.
Leave a comment below to discuss how CRUD can make our designs more effective.