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In my app users get suggestions for things they can put on their list of so called "self-affirmations", things that you read out to yourself to improve etc.

Background: It's been scientifically proven (somewhere, don't have the source currently) that writing something out yourself makes it more memorable than simply reading an already existing text (that's why they often suggest students to write notes when studying, so they remember it better).


Idea: Do not just simply let the user add these suggestions to their list, but make them type it out (probably not as effective as writing it out on paper but it's an app after all).
But to do that, they have to see the text while typing, so I had this idea that I tested in my Axure prototype:

This was (informally) tested with approx. 6 people and I've gotten a mix of slightly positive and neutral responses about the whole thing.


Do you think this is bad UX, as it is kind of "cluttery" and maybe confusing?
Maybe there are more elegant ways to do this?

  • I could see the potential for suggestions being odd or inappropriate depending on how the predictive text is determined, which could cause some issues. What specific feedback did you get from users about this feature? To me it seems like you can synthesize your answer from that. – invot Mar 18 at 15:46
  • @invot Well to be precise, it was a general look on the prototype, it wasn't focused specifically on this single feature. So I simply asked in the end how they liked the adding feature and a few said that "it was kinda cool, I think it makes sense to write it out" and two others did not really get that they had to type along the shown letters and tried to put in their own text, which then confused them (and I actually show a little bubble with "type it out to add it" after the +-button was pressed). – Big_Chair Mar 18 at 21:36
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I agree that it feels a bit cluttery and create visual noise which at times may create irritation.

Alternate solution

I feel the alternate pattern you can use is that of "Typing practice" websites/apps use.

https://www.keybr.com/ Screenshot from https://www.keybr.com/

  • So instead of having an input box, the screen will consist of disabled texts.
  • As users write their affirmations, the app will identify the keystrokes and make it active. enter image description here
  • Yeee, this gave me some good ideas, thanks man. – Big_Chair Mar 19 at 7:53
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I would argue that there isn't really such a thing as 'good' or 'bad' UX, but there probably is something about trying to align the goal of the user with how the interface and interactions are designed. That is, there will always be someone who doesn't like the way the whole experience is designed (or part of it), but you want to make sure that at least for the majority or the target users that you have designed for it is in line with their expectations.

Having said that, since you were only testing for this 'informally', it is hard to tease out exactly what factors were at play with the responses. To break it down a bit better, you might consider the effect/impact of what you are presenting to the user in a few different ways:

  • visual design of the text (e.g. colour, style, font, etc.) that could have make it easier or more difficult to complete the task.
  • content of the textfield, since a short suggestion is always going to be easier and more feasible compared to a longer self-affirmation
  • layout and placement of the text, which can be just below the textfield and in a smaller font size

Also, regarding the research about writing something down that helps with self-affirmation, I would caution whether you can simply apply the findings directly to what you are doing, considering that there are always going to be individual differences and factors that you can't really tease out exactly. For example, is writing it on pen and paper really the same as typing something into a textfield? Is writing it down once actually enough or do you need to repeat this process to have the actual benefit? Is reading it out loud the same as writing it down?

I think unless you fully understand the critical factors at play with the behaviour, it is difficult to work out what is the experience that you should design to optimize the benefit of what you are trying to deliver to the users. But hopefully there are a few things for you to consider for the next design iteration.

  • I know what you mean, it's not the best organaized research so far. But after I'm done building the app there will be a 4 weeks (pilot) user test with an approx. N of 30, to see if the included practices and principles actually help people. Until then I can only do these small informal things. The questions you noted are exactly the things I'm currently thinking about, my assumption is that typing is less effective than pen & paper but still more helpful than adding it with a click. But the user test will have to show. – Big_Chair Mar 19 at 8:01
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This is bad UX, forcing users on a mobile device to enter the whole text. Check the source about "self-affirmations"

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    Can you expand a bit on this? Why is this bad? To which source about self-affirmations are you referring? – maxathousand Mar 19 at 19:17

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