"Motivation is an important factor in any kind of online interaction or transaction. People need a little encouragement when they’re not really convinced they should take any action or are uncertain about what action to take next. As users perform tasks online, they need to understand what’s happening and expect you to help them move forward. This article discusses the responsibility of a user interface to provide recommendations along a user’s path of interaction.
You can provide recommendations in any context. Applied effectively, this design approach can help users greatly. In contexts as diverse as desktop and Web applications, ecommerce sites, and other Web sites, providing recommendations
* motivates users to take the next step and complete their tasks successfully
* helps customers make purchasing decisions
* increases users’ comfort levels
* builds customer loyalty and brand recognition
Recommending Courses of Action in Desktop Applications
You can provide recommendations in operating systems and desktop applications—for example, when users download applications or set browser preferences. The Windows operating system offers some good examples of recommendations, as shown in Figure 1, where an icon indicates the best choice. The icons in this user interface let users scan their choices and make a quick decision.
Making Recommendations in Web Applications
Provide recommendations when users need to make decisions in Web applications. For example, on an ecommerce site, providing recommendations can enhance your revenues by building service and support into the purchasing process." (Continued via UXMatters, Afshan Kirmani) [Usability Resources]