"When creating great experiences, it's not so much about doing what users
expect. Instead, it's about creating a design that clearly meets their needs
at the instant they need it."
The article makes a clear case for this statement in the context of what was
researched to write it, but the statement itself could be misleading.
Buttons and command links and other UI controls set expectations in users'
minds all the time, and those that set a very clear expectation are
generally seen as having a high degree of usability (obviously, this ties
back to the "usability = predictability" discussion). They instill
confidence that what will happen next is what the user believes will happen
next. For example, a button labeled "Save now" sets an expectation that
whatever was just done on a particular screen/state will be saved. If the
change is not saved, the resulting screen/state breaks the user's
expectation. And, of course, this leads to frustration. (Yes, you can
certainly do more than just save, in an attempt to create a delightful
moment for a user, but the system, at the very least, should do what was
In other words, when creating great experiences, it may not necessarily be
about doing what users expect in the first place, but it is often most
certainly about living up to the expectations you explicitly attempt to set
through the design. If you label a button "Save Now", it better do exactly
So, to clarify, it is definitely about creating a design that clearly meets
a need at the instant users need it, but it's also about living up to the
expectations the system sets. It's not one or the other. It's both.