Designing for users with anxiety

Give users enough time to complete an action

Don't rush users or set impractical time limits

People with anxiety might take longer to complete something because they are cautious or fear getting it wrong. Make sure any time limits on actions are generous.

Explain what will happen after completing a service

Don't leave users confused about next steps or timeframes

Services that end without any concrete guidance on what will happen next can increase users anxiety. For example if someone renews their passport, tell them the next steps and how long those steps normally take.

Make important information clear

Don't leave users uncertain about the consequences of their actions

People will become more anxious on services that have consequences for them personally. Clear, simple information is important. If your service needs to warn users about the consequence of their actions, make sure you give them enough information to make the correct decision, so they can continue confidently.

Give users the support they need to complete a service

Don't make support or help hard to access

User with anxiety are more likely to need extra support to complete a service. Users who cannot complete a service on their own might need support from someone else.

Let users check their answers before they submit them

Don't leave users questioning what answers they gave

We can reassure users by giving them the opportunity to check and change their answers before they submit. Without this step, users are less informed which could increase anxiety.