On Extroversion And Introversion In The Interface Design

I ran into a minor problem just the other day. For the first time ever I went to the site I looked for and felt the fiercest discomfort. For me the main page felt horribly overburdened. Several site sections, some passages of articles, assorted pictures, and sitebuttons danced before my eyes. It appears, that this time it happened due to a difference in perception between extroverts and introverts. This particular difference between said two outlooks I’d like to talk about today. To begin with, the extro- and introversion terms were introduced to us by Jung. After him, Eysenck made the concepts both well-known and more primitive. If Jung spoke of “… the primary focus of psychic energy …”, then Eysenck reduced it to a simple asociality or sociability. Jung’s definition seems more accurate to me. We should also bear in mind that both of these polarities are present in humans at the same time. When we “diagnose” someone, we refer to the dominant mindset. Please note that the intelligence and active lifestyle can eventually wash out the polarity of manifestations in any person. Now to the main thesis. In order for the same interface to be similarly well received by people with opposite outlooks, it is necessary for it to meet two conditions. 1. For the extrovert the site should contain the potential to go somewhere else, to expand the list of perceived objects. 2. For the introvert it would be highly advisable for it to have some clearly highlighted way of achieving the desired goals without having to perceive too much. It is not always easy to combine these two requirements. It may be easier to solve this problem with the help of this image – imagine two men having entered the room. One of them is suffering from agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. Another one – from claustrophobia. He fears the opposite, the closed spaces. A compromise would be a kind of solution that allows them both to experience the minimum stress. Agoraphobe should go along the wall, looking only at the pointers and not paying attention to a set of objects around. Claustrophobe should constantly see as much open doors and windows as possible. Speaking of the interfaces, for the extrovert person it’s necessary that he is always able to get somewhere else, to discover something new. It doesn’t mean for the fact that he’ll embrace the opportunity. Of course, it is preferable for him to see a variety of objects within the field of view, but it will clearly frustrate the introvert. The introvert, on the contrary, wishes for very clearly defined path without being forced to getting familiar with “neighborhoods”. For him, the usability must contain only necessary minimum of elements. The combination of these two approaches is possible. Most often, I’ve seen successful approaches, containing the optimal number of interface elements. And vice versa, I sometimes met the extremes, and it was clear what the mindset the author of the service / interface had himself. This can be treated with feedback. It is necessary to show the outcome to several people at once, and hear their comments on it. The answers lie on the surface. Further elegance of solution is only limited by the talent of developer. And less annoying interfaces for you! 🙂