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I've been asked to build a repayment calculator for a bank and 85% of their customers are of a specific type, e.g. Married, over the age of 30 first time buyer etc, you get the idea.

Now, depending what customer type you are the calculation applies different interest rates. We're thinking "well if 85% are a specific type, why can't we default the state of the calculator to this user group?" The calculator will say 'Married' 'over 30' etc and allow the user to change if they are not of this group.

How might users react to this? It would mean 85% of users have to enter less data but the 15% ....well, is there a danger in this approach?

I'm looking for specific citations

edit: forgot to add, if a user does not notice the default states and goes ahead they will get the wrong loan amount told to them and this is potentially disastrous to the business

  • Maybe ask if they're married explicitly and if they say no then have them select from a number of other options. – invot Mar 8 '18 at 18:14
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Use blank defaults and require all users to explicitly specify their information

You've sort of answered your own question here:

Is there a danger in this approach?

If a user does not notice the default states and goes ahead they will get the wrong loan amount told to them and this is potentially disastrous to the business

If the risk of something as simple as a user using all the default info and receiving the wrong loan info is 'potential disaster', then it sounds like the safest option is to minimize that risk make everyone go through the same process, of changing all the blank default values.

As I stated in my first answer, the user expectation here is that they will have to do some form filling, so the cost of reducing your risk here is very low.

  • the risks of business telling the wrong loan amounts are potentially disastrous (national press will happen; this is a huge project) – colmcq Mar 8 '18 at 16:14
  • This might have been worth mentioning in the question, no? This is non-ordinary enough to warrant inclusion as an influencing factor. If the risk of any user seeing the wrong information is a potential national scandal, then perhaps you have no choice but to mitigate this risk by going with blank defaults, and requiring every user to explicitly specify their information. – dennislees Mar 8 '18 at 16:20
  • @colmcq Updated this answer for you. – dennislees Mar 8 '18 at 17:13
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I agree with Dennisless. Making assumptions about your user without data is heavy risk.

However, if you have access to the metadata of the users logged in then I'd be more inclined to have data pre-filled based on the parameters passed through of the user.

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