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It seems like many new users to StackExchange don't know that they should mark a response as the answer. I often see pissed off veterans shouting "you're not going to get any help if your accept rate is 0%". How would you improve the affordance of this feature so more newbies use it?

For one, the mark-as-answer button does not look like a button. There's no bevel, no hover state, nor drop shadow to show that it's clickable. Besides this, how would you further improve the feature?

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Maybe this question is better placed on meta.stackoverflow.com? –  Lode Apr 22 '11 at 6:06
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If the question is about UX, does it matter that the subject happens to be StackExchange? See recent questions on permalinks and comments that also suggest changes to StackExchange's UI. –  Patrick McElhaney Apr 22 '11 at 12:52

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, the design depends on... the design :). Maybe with the new design it's going to improve :)

Other than that, I'm not sure it's an affordance problem as such. It looks and behaves exactly the same as all the other controls in that column - the vote up/down, favorites, FB and twitter. I agree that its affordance isn't perfect, but it's exactly the same as for all these other controls.

I thinks it's more of a motivation problem. Before I accepted my first answer, I saw a little red message on my profile, asking me to consider accepting an answer. But once I did it for the first time, it apparently signals to SE that I'm aware that answers should be accepted, so I never saw that message again. I think that if it appeared for all unanswered questions - both in the profile tab and on the question itself when viewed by the OP, it would increase acceptance rates.

In other words, I think users aren't sufficiently aware of the fact that it's important to accept answers, and the problem is not with figuring out how to do it.

But to answer the actual question itself - I think that it would help to turn the button into a box that appears on each answer and has both the icon and a call-to-action text, e.g. "Accept this as a good answer" or something. It would also need to be somewhere above or under the answer, and not to its left in the votes column.

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This not only a discussion point here, also on the other foo.stackexchange.com sites. Your point about clear call to action is correct. While accepting answers mentioned on the reputation page, it should be made more explicit here where questioners are looking for (and finding) their answer. –  Ray Mitchell Apr 21 '11 at 19:42

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