an object used to operate a physical or virtual device. For questions regarding how to present and implement controls for a particular interface or interaction.

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113
votes
14answers
8k views

Who needs an external on/off Wi-Fi button?

It puzzles me that there are Laptops which are shipped with external physical Wi-Fi buttons. I see no real use of it, but it might have a historical explanation?! The only time one notice the external ...
71
votes
9answers
6k views

Why is the “Record” icon always round and usually red?

I've been wondering why the symbol for 'record' is universally (AFAIK - has anyone seen exceptions?) a circle and usually red. Cameras, VCRs, voice recorders, smartphones, web apps... I've seen cases ...
35
votes
7answers
5k views

Intuitive interface for Composing Boolean Logic?

I'm interested to know how people have, or would construct an interface which simplifies constructing logical boolean conditions? (Yes, it's a database query builder) In my mind a bad interface has ...
29
votes
11answers
7k views

Most User-Friendly Form Fields for Entering Date/Time?

What are the different ways to have fields in an application for date, time, or both? What are the pros and cons for each? The most common seem to be a combination of 2–3 drop-downs, or some form ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did Microsoft put close and minimize buttons on the Office splash screens?

Starting with Office 2010, Microsoft put a minimize and close button on the upper right corner of the splash screens of the various Office apps. But, the splash screen is up for such a short time, ...
22
votes
13answers
1k views

Is it better to prevent a forbidden action or display an error/explanation message?

There are multiple examples, so I'll pick a specific one to focus the question. Let's say a user can have specific characteristics (or permissions): Admin, Virtual, External, Financial, etc. To ...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

Why are the controls opposite/inverted when flying in a game?

In a game, we would normally use the directions in a normal way to move, i.e. "up" for move forward, "down" for move backwards, "left" for left, and so on. Although, when we play a flying game, why ...
19
votes
6answers
864 views

Is there a name for the UI that marks key positions in a scroll bar?

In Chrome, when you do a text search, you'll see the locations of found instances of the text string shown as yellow lines in the vertical scrollbar. If you run Visual Studio with the Resharper ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a visual glossary of (Windows) UI controls?

Some days it seems every member of my team calls each control by a different name. Is there a good resource, preferably with images, for what the official name of each control type is? I found a few ...
18
votes
2answers
7k views

Do spinner-based date pickers on iOS & Android detract from the user's experience?

Generally speaking, the rule of thumb on mobile devices is to follow the platform conventions, and that native controls are almost always better than custom UIs. However, I'm at a loss as to whether ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

accordions vs tabs

What is difference between accordions and tabs from the UX point of view? This is repost from this thread on SO: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5690589/difference-between-accordion-and-tabs (I ...
17
votes
11answers
4k views

What's the best way to present date of birth form fields?

I am building a form that requires users to enter in their DOB. What is the best practice for this? I have identified 3 basic options: Free Text Field Users are able to enter day, month and year in ...
16
votes
11answers
2k views

What's a good scroll bar equivalent for a spiral script?

One of my friends is writing a fictional story about a people who use a script that is read in a spiral from the inside out. They write on long coils of flexible material, and longer texts are fed ...
16
votes
10answers
764 views

Do users like choice? How much should I give them?

I built a photo slideshow web page as an exercise for myself. One thing I found myself doing was adding a Settings button. Clicking this reveals a little settings pane that lets a user choose between ...
16
votes
7answers
986 views

Greyed-Out vs Invisible

What is a good criterion or rule-of-thumb for determining when a control should be greyed-out and when should it be completely invisible?
15
votes
9answers
2k views

Scrollbar on the left

Is there a deep study that suggests to place a scrollbar on the right? Personally I move it to the left whenever it's possible (firefox allow this, as well as xterm and emacs). I know that placing a ...
13
votes
7answers
841 views

How to incorporate a “never” value on a slider?

I have a slider in a web page (similar to this one) to control the the duration of how long to keep an item before it is removed: The range of values goes from 0 to 90, with the value 0 being used ...
13
votes
6answers
792 views

Select All & Clear All vs. Invert

I met with situation when I have to use the long multiply check list. I have to add some usable buttons Select All, Clear All or Revert Invert. I know that the common practice is using "Select All" ...
13
votes
4answers
602 views

Should radio options be displayed vertically or horizontally?

For Example: Results must match () All () Any () None Of the search criteria vs Results must match () All of the search criteria () Any () None The ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Appended and Prepended Checkbox: when can I use this?

A was taking a look at Twitter Bootstrap, and, looking at the Prepended and Appended checkboxes, just cant figure out where, why and when I can use it. Can someone give me a good example?
12
votes
9answers
870 views

How do you show a locked slider?

I have an application with a slider, but I need to be able to lock the slider, and have it clear to the user that it is locked - simply disabling it is not an option. By locked I mean that you are ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

Alternatives to having an excessive number of radio buttons on a form?

I have a form which dynamically creates the user's choices as radio buttons. It functionally works, but it does not look that pretty. It looks ugly, particularly if the number of radio buttons grows. ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do light switches find themselves OUTSIDE the room they light up in some European countries?

Okay, to be fair my experience is mostly with Poland, though I have observed this electrical interior design decision in a few neighboring countries while travelling, but can't generalize there. ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Are tri-state checkboxes too complicated?

Normal checkboxes are easy, they have a checked state, and an unchecked state. But how do you go about indicating a third state for a tri-state checkbox? Is it too difficult for the user to discover ...
12
votes
5answers
489 views

Web - How to represent a numeric input that is limited to increments of some number

I have a requirement for a form that restricts a field value to fixed increments of 50 and I'm not sure what would be the most elegant way to represent that constraint in a meaningful fashion. The ...
12
votes
5answers
562 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
476 views

How to make the relationship between two related lists more obvious?

I've got two horizontal lists - one that contains Chinese characters (list A) and the second that contains the decomposition of the selected character (list B). Currently, when the user clicks on ...
10
votes
6answers
23k views

ExtJS vs. JQuery [closed]

From a UX design perspective (design freedom, interaction polish, usability, skin-ability, etc.), what JavaScript UI framework is best? Particularly, we are looking at ExtJS and JQuery. And, yes, we ...
10
votes
4answers
471 views

Which one is easier to use: horizontal or vertical sliders?

Which type of sliders is easier to use: horizontal or vertical?
10
votes
3answers
367 views

How to indicate a text field is autocomplete capable? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to tell the user that an input box is autocomplete-enabled? Has anyone come across any kind of visual indicator that suggests a text field will autocomplete? ...
10
votes
7answers
880 views

Any examples or suggestions for working with timelines [closed]

I'm going to be writing an application that needs to handle linear work flows. For simplicity, there are two types of entries: Events: A trigger condition that allows you to move forward. It may ...
9
votes
5answers
638 views

What's a clean way to implement two checkboxes that can be “ANDed” or “ORed”?

I have a pretty standard search form on a web site that will return records based on various criteria. Let's assume each record corresponds with a person. A person can have a dog, a car, neither, or ...
9
votes
1answer
248 views

How to format UI control screenshots so users don't think they're touchable?

I have a need in a touchscreen mobile app to show users a message that informs them about some system function that they should know might affect my app. As well as describing the issue, I want to use ...
9
votes
2answers
128 views

Borders editing control usability

I need a simple and intuitive control for editing rectangle borders. At the moment I have the following: At the left - preview box and current border selector at the same time. User can click on ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Timezone selection best practices

I am looking for ways to design a UI where the user selects their timezone. I would like to avoid having a map as that can be slow people down on small screen devices. I currently have 2 options: ...
8
votes
4answers
261 views

Is the middle power option 50% or 60%?

A friend of mine has a blender with 6 control selections: One off position, and five power settings in order of less to more power. Example below: A discussion has erupted over whether or not the ...
8
votes
5answers
742 views

Are Sparklines appropriate for use in dashboards of reporting software?

For those not aware of Sparklines, here is an example: http://demos.telerik.com/silverlight/#BulletGraph/FirstLook Would these work well to really give users a quick dashboard/reporting overview of ...
8
votes
4answers
334 views

How do I add the ability to cancel editing without a button?

We currently have an interface pattern that consists of a list of rows; clicking on one row activates "edit mode", where the lables turn into text-boxes, afterwards you can either save or cancel. ...
8
votes
2answers
208 views

What is the best way to ask for repeating dates?

I've always struggled with the best way to allow a user to enter a repeating date. For example, scheduling a task you need to do repeatedly. There are a few different ways this can be expressed... ...
8
votes
2answers
219 views

What's the official name of concept of input boxes with tags?

I'm looking for an implementation and the (official) name of this kind of control where it's a inputbox where we can add multiple tags into it. By example, it is used in JIRA like this capture (and ...
8
votes
5answers
290 views

Is it a good idea to put the word “or” between buttons on a screen

If I have a dialog to display to the user it has a data item displayed, and 2 seperate actions that can be done to the object. So, it's a resource and we want the user to choose which process they ...
8
votes
3answers
320 views

Default input labels and text sizes

Looking to get community feedback on a few small related form questions: For standard forms: How long should a standard text box input be? These text boxes would be for first and last name? Should ...
8
votes
1answer
282 views

How often do users overlook controls that are revealed by hovering?

Techniques that reveal controls on hover (as used by apps like twitter) have been suggested as a way to simplify an interface and focus attention on content. However I wonder how many people fail to ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Indeterminate Progress Indicator Styles

When you have an operation that has too many factors to reliably give an estimate of actual progress towards task completion, you'll often find an indeterminate busy/progress indicator. Through the ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

Why do the popular browsers copy each other's user interfaces?

Why do all the popular browsers blatantly copy each other's user interface? See these screenshots to understand what I mean: Mozilla Firefox (see Australis is landing in Firefox Nightly and ...
7
votes
6answers
715 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
8answers
679 views

Is there ever a good use case for a software rotary knob (dial)?

I love physical dials and knobs, they are great for adjusting something just the right amount without looking at it. They are even great for controlling an absolute value like volume because they stop ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Tri-state checkbox: Which state should be selected after clicking?

There is a hierarchy of selectable items, let's say a parent and two children. All three items have checkboxes. When both children are checked, the parent's checkbox is also checked. When both ...
7
votes
3answers
457 views

Representing “undetermined” in a three-state checkbox

I'm developing a rule-based forms application where the user must explicitly choose a value for each data field, even boolean ones. For controls like combo boxes, this is not a problem, as they just ...
7
votes
3answers
115 views

Textbox with addon selector

My users need to input a number. For this, I would like a control that is a textbox for the numerical input and a section on the end of the textbox that indicates a default unit of measure, similar to ...