Affordance is a property of an object that naturally indicates how the object can be used.

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95
votes
19answers
11k views

Which way should be “on” for a switch?

Most of us use switches every day in various forms. And although there are sometimes general norms in countries as to which direction is "on", there is variation between countries. So when ...
42
votes
7answers
2k views

How should you show that an accordion is expanded?

When you have an accordion, you need some way of showing the current state is expanded. There are a number of different ways of handling this, and each is used by a number of respected websites and ...
31
votes
11answers
4k views

How to visualize the possibility of drag'n'drop?

My web application contains a list of elements, which can be sorted by drag'n'drop. How to visualize this feature to users?
28
votes
6answers
1k views

Should “dangerous” buttons be big and red or small and inconspicuous?

In a web app, some people think a "Delete" button should be obvious and bright red, signifying danger. The trouble is that this draws the eye to the button and may make accidental clicks more likely. ...
26
votes
10answers
2k views

Make object look draggable

I have a selection object (with the text SELECTED on it) that floats around on a background. The selection object is draggable and is used to drag it onto a furniture to make a selection. The user is ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Design Patterns for Discoverability

What are some tried and true design patterns for discoverability in UI/UX, where information or a feature isn't necessarily overt at first glance, but is discoverable by using the interface through ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Why does the Redbox machine have barriers around the credit card swipe reader?

Perhaps you've seen one of these before. A couple of inches above and below the magnetic stripe reader are protrusions that allow just enough room to swipe a credit card. The barriers are a ...
16
votes
6answers
890 views

Is it acceptable to make a text field look like a write in line?

My designer would like to implement a text field that drops down on hover against a white background, and only have a bottom border to define the field. Also, the designer would like to see a flashing ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Make calendar icon obviously clickable

On a webpage there is a calendar that shows just the current day of the month. When that calendar is clicked, a current month's calendar pops up. How can I make it obvious that the calendar is ...
15
votes
6answers
526 views

Will a Paste button increase usability?

There comes cases where it's quite obvious that users are most likely to copy and paste a value into a given text-box. One of those cases is a URL fields. This made me thinking of adding a paste ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does * (asterisk) mean Required on a form field

Watching a video from DIBI conference and Jared Spool mentions the mysterious origins of the asterisk (*) on a required form field. Where does this come from, why does an asterisk mean required?
14
votes
3answers
526 views

Is there a difference between affordance and discovery?

Looking at the UX principles that mozilla use as keywords to tag bugs in bugzilla it looks like ux-affordance and ux-discovery are very similar: ux-affordance — controls should visually express ...
14
votes
5answers
457 views

How to handle users typing without input focus

An issue I repeatedly observe with novice web users is that they will occasionally begin typing without first properly selecting (focusing) an input field. A typical pattern I see is this: the user ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Is a plain unadorned hyperlink sufficient for sharing a link?

This is from a post on the SO Blog: So how do you share questions? I mentioned in an earlier post that we support a shorter URL form specifically for sharing: ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

How to make it obvious that you can drag things that you normally can't?

My interface allows users to move things that usually have fixed positions in other applications, such as text boxes. What can I do to make it obvious to the user that they can move certain objects? ...
12
votes
3answers
758 views

What is the reason for Concave round buttons in Elevators

What is the reason many elevators have concave shaped buttons. Like this: Any special reason behind this?
12
votes
5answers
576 views

Should I use radio buttons or check boxes (or something else) for email address?

So I'm building an application where the users will be able to send some information via email. The previous system had an interface something like this, where the users would select whether they ...
12
votes
7answers
724 views

Best Practice for a button that performs multiple actions

Consider this scenario: A "Connect" button, which changes to a "Cancel" button when clicked. When the connection succeeds, it changes to a "Disconnect" button. Should this be handled with 3 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Are 3D icons better than 2D?

I've seen an increase of 3D icons in the recent past. I am not convinced they are better. Instead they may actually be worse because space is taken up by the projection. Is there any evidence as to ...
11
votes
8answers
295 views

A button with a link: understandable or confusing?

I'm working on a design of a touchscreen version of some web application. Since it's a touchscreen I would like all clickable elements to be rather big and easy to tap (it's a simple kiosk, so ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How broad is the definition of affordance?

While discussing the need for affordances to be consistent, comments between me and JeroenEijkhof indicate we don't have a similar interpretation of the term 'affordance'. I claimed that something ...
11
votes
8answers
496 views

How do I indicate that mutliple sets of radio buttons are mutually exclusive?

I have a panel where a user selects a camera to view from a location so they can load images from that camera. They can only load images from one camera and one location. Because of this I used radio ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

How to indicate container is scrollable without scroll bars

In Android I'm trying to work out a way to indicate to the user that a container can be scrolled. I'm not a fan of scroll bars and usually turn them off for all containers but would enable the fading ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

What is a good visual cue for drag and drop? (for reordering a list of items)

I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions on what is the best visual cue to indicate to the user that list items can be reordered via drag and drop? Here are a few options I've been playing around ...
10
votes
8answers
626 views

How can I make it obvious that a page element is to be hovered over?

On my webpage I have five boxes containing the names of each step in a five step process. When the user hovers over one of the boxes, it expands and shows text explaining that process. How can I ...
10
votes
1answer
268 views

Improve affordance of “mark as answer” on StackExchange

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 ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

How to make an interface look touchable?

I'm designing a touchable interface. It is a non-iPad/iPhone for any mobile with touchable screen. So, if you see a big screen, how do you know if is touchable one? Showing a video that explains ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

In Excel, how do you make it clear that a pane is frozen?

I'm making a reporting application in Excel. On some sheets, I have multiple rows of header that I want to keep visible at all times. So, naturally, I'm using Excel's Freeze Panes feature to freeze ...
9
votes
6answers
600 views

Are multiple entry points good or bad?

My example is a web-based application, but I guess this could go for anything: Multiple entry points for the same action, good or bad? My example: Adding a product against a supplier (vendor). This ...
9
votes
7answers
457 views

How can we communicate the ability to use the same login credentials across multiple sites?

We currently own siteA.com and have a pretty big user base. We are now planning to introduce siteB.com and siteC.com into the mix. Since we want to end up with a "network of sites" and make things ...
8
votes
7answers
932 views

Signifying to user that field is editable

I have a grid that has a bunch of data. Some of the fields are editable and cause a postback updating the data. What are the best ways to show that to the user? i.e. Is there a best practice for how ...
8
votes
3answers
375 views

App icons borderless or on a button?

In an app, when using icons, we can have place it on a button, or have the icon borderless. I would think that having it on a button gives better affordance, but it seems that many reputable ...
8
votes
2answers
464 views

Chart drill-down affordance?

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for improving the usability of chart drill-down? More specifically, imagine we have a bar chart (or any other visualization) where a user is able to select ...
7
votes
6answers
788 views

How do you indicate that a UI element affords sliding, without using an actual slider?

I'm designing an interface for an Android app that would allow the user to control the pitch, tempo, volume, etc. of some music playing in the background. Here's what I've sketched so far: I ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

For required fields, should we add the red asterisk before or after the field label?

Should we add red asterisk before or after the label of required fields, i.e., to the left or the right of the field name? My boss prefers to add the asterisk before the labels, but I like to add them ...
7
votes
3answers
267 views

How should I indicate that an element responds to user click?

I have a list of people that the user wants to contact. They can "Mark as done" when they have made the contact (then it goes to their follow up list 3 days later). Displaying the "Mark as done" ...
7
votes
4answers
518 views

How do you show non-affordance?

There is a tendency to use badges or status images to show information, but very often these badges look like other items which you interact with, such as buttons. There is a lot of information on ...
6
votes
5answers
275 views

Order of prices and effects on sales

Consider the following list of prices: Plan A Plan B Plan C ------ ------ ------ $50/mo $40/mo $30/mo Is it more effective to ...
6
votes
3answers
503 views

Affordance for resizing a panel

The standard way to sinalize the ability to resize is with the operating system's own mouse pointer, the double-pointed arrow in the direction you are to resize (horizontal, vertical or diagonal). ...
6
votes
3answers
108 views

How do I indicate that a subset of icons aren't clickable?

I have a row of icons with labels. The first three are clickable and are in fact nav elements for the content area. The last icon isn't clickable... how do I make the lack of clicking affordance ...
6
votes
4answers
210 views

Should same page interactions be underlined with a dashed line?

Should there be a visual distinction between a link and a AJAX like interaction? I quite often see that dashed underlining triggers an action on the same page. Is this a new convention? Would that ...
6
votes
6answers
217 views

What is the best practice for link affordance?

If I have several links, what are the best practice to demonstrate that that link has affordance. Take this example: We have a link that only underlines on hover and has no colour. Surely, that's ...
5
votes
4answers
298 views

When is something too easy?

Let us assume that satisfaction can be derived from challenges, such as in games. Let us also also assume that the appeal of many websites or real-life experiences comes from incorporating gaming ...
5
votes
2answers
598 views

What affords scrolling?

Besides the obvious: Scrollbar Touch interfaces (especially mobile ones) A sign saying "You can scroll here you know!" This for a desktop application.
5
votes
3answers
249 views

Whether to use pointer (hand) over a button or just the default cursor

Gmail uses the pointer on mouse over of a button, while many of other websites uses a hand So I am wondering which kind of cursor is more friendly to users (on web applications), or it just ...
5
votes
4answers
120 views

Representing how many you have with how many they want

I have a problem whereby we are asking a user for multiple items. This is in a gaming scenario and the game has lots of items. Each item is manufactured from other items and is only counted once it ...
5
votes
2answers
507 views

Can a mobile application be made using a totally flat design?

In a current attempt at designing a mobile app using a "flat" design à la Windows Modern UI, I noticed that some aspects of the application feel weird to the average user. The main aspects here being ...
5
votes
1answer
561 views

Is the asterisk the common symbol to mark fields as required in all languages?

I did some research but didn't find an answer to it. The asterisk seems to be a common symbol on the web for marking input or user interaction as required. Most likely it has it's origins in print ...
4
votes
6answers
318 views

“Adding and Subtracting a Value” Horizontal or Vertical Controls better affordance?

"Adding and Subtracting a Value" is Horizontally aligning the controls less effective than Aligning Vertically? I am working on a project, where we are trying to squeeze a user interface equivalent ...
4
votes
4answers
333 views

Making a linked page more obvious?

I've got a portfolio much like the one displayed below. One of the people who I have shown the portfolio to, asked if I could put some live version of the game/web page in action, or have some video ...