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I am currently analysing the GUI of one application. It happens that the application has a list of locations that only displays favourite locations. When you create a location, the new location is favourite by default and if you don't need it to be displayed you just remove if from favourites. However, to see the location again you have to "add it to favourites". This is also done with stars icons.

My question is: Shouldn't this be a question of visibility rather than favourites, or should the favourites concept be acceptable to deal with objects visibility?

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2 Answers

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Personally, I don't think the 'favorites' metaphor works here. Just adding a location to a list and having a favorite location is not the same thing. Think of a Sat Nav, you might have 50 locations bookmarked or added to your device but you would only have 2-3 locations marked as your favorite - like home or work etc. Same principle goes for your contacts in your mobile phone and your favorite contacts on speed dial.

Naturally, there are other factors that need to be considered here like who the users are and if there are any legacy workflows that are playing a part but based on the information that you have shared so far, I would agree with your concern that favorites should not be considered a mechanism for visibility of content.

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The "favorites" model assumes that the user decides what content is useful to them. Auto-adding new items to favorites means that you're making decisions of preference on behalf of the user, which is generally not a good UX.

The conceptual model that you want probably looks like this:

  • Locations is the list of locations that is shown to the user. New locations are added to this group.
  • Hidden Locations are locations that have been hidden by the user.
  • Optionally, Favorite Locations is some subset of all locations that the user chooses. Locations should never be auto-added to this group.
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