The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

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185
votes
22answers
19k views

Save icon, is the floppy disk icon dead?

This Twitter post sparked me to ask the question: totally! RT @damienguard: Dear UI designers everywhere. Stop using floppy disk icons for save. Too many people have no idea what it is now. ...
143
votes
13answers
7k views

Language of language names in the language selector?

Imagine a site that's available in multiple languages. The language is detected automatically by looking at the IP or the browser header. But that's not bulletproof, so a few users might end up on a ...
105
votes
5answers
6k views

Why are vote buttons on Stack Exchange shown when they can't be used?

I've often wondered why Stack Exchange has opted to keep the upvote/downvote buttons available for clicking on question/answers posted by the user. For instance: Even though these buttons have no ...
93
votes
10answers
4k views

Is Markdown Friendly Enough for Non-Technical Users?

The Problem I love using Markdown to write questions, answers, posts, comments, etc. That being said, I am a very technical, detail oriented, programmer type. However, I am working on a CMS of ...
88
votes
12answers
19k views

Why do showers have “hot” and “cold” knobs rather than “temperature” and “quantity” knobs?

I do not understand the advantage of the popular "hot" and "cold" controls in showers, as opposed to "temperature" and "quantity" controls. Is it simply because the latter option is harder to ...
78
votes
9answers
9k 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 ...
75
votes
6answers
7k views

Star vs Heart icon to represent save as a favourite

I am working on a mobile app that involves the user saving a favourite location. I wanted to use an icon to represent that feature, but I'm not sure which one is better – a star or a heart icon. Some ...
64
votes
13answers
9k views

Is Microsoft's Ribbon UI really that great, from a usability perspective?

The first time I ever used it was at my current job. Among my coworkers, the feelings toward it for usability are mixed. The other developer doesn't really care one way or the other, as long as Office ...
61
votes
6answers
10k views

Why are calculator screen digits right-aligned?

Is there any logical reason behind digit alignment on a calculator? If yes, can we apply this for visual interfaces of numbers on the web?
61
votes
11answers
9k views

Should users be allowed to use any special character they want when creating a password?

I came across a number of login configuration settings where there is a list of allowable special characters and was wondering: Does this limitation cater for a specific security or usability need? ...
60
votes
8answers
15k views

Why do traffic lights have three separate light bulbs instead of having one?

Recently, I checked out a concept design for a traffic light with only one light. Do you know the exact reason for having three lamps in a row, instead of one like in this concept?
58
votes
10answers
8k views

Is it safe to assume everyone uses / has mouse wheels?

Is it safe to assume all users are aware of using the mouse wheel to scroll and that all users have a mouse wheel on their mouse? I'm hoping to implement a scrollbar which stays hidden even when you ...
55
votes
6answers
14k views

Infinite scroll vs Pagination in E-commerce websites

Infinite scroll has been around for a while now, however I have not seen infinite scroll being implemented on any successful or well known e-commerce sites. Does anyone know of any e-commerce sites ...
52
votes
13answers
2k views

Personal information in messages

Is it good to add some personal information (name, username or other) in success or error messages?
49
votes
9answers
2k views

Do non-technical/non-web savvy users understand the concept of tags?

Here at Stack Exchange we're currently wrestling with weaknesses in our tags system. As we open up new verticals – some of which include very non-technical users like cooking – we suspect that the ...
48
votes
11answers
6k views

Deletion: Confirm or Undo? Which is the better option and why?

Which one is the better option and why? Delete with Confirmation [The action cannot be undone] or Delete with one click [And provide option to Undo]
48
votes
15answers
15k views

Why don’t we remove door handles and let doors open both ways (inwards, outwards)?

In browsing the site today, I came across a question about doors somewhat related to something I’ve been wondering for a LONG LONG time: Why don’t we remove all door handles and let doors open both ...
47
votes
9answers
5k views

How can I make monochrome icons work?

My company has just implemented a monochrome icon theme in an attempt to transition to a more "modern" interface. Feedback from the first round of user testing has been mixed: Almost everybody ...
44
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is Google using a (new) 2 step Gmail sign in process?

I am not asking about the two factor authentication process where the user needs to enter both a password and a one-time-password. Gmail recently (I don't know from when exactly) changed their login ...
42
votes
10answers
4k views

Display big numbers in a small area

I am developing an accounting app where I display several orders. Every order has a price. I have a box where I would like to display the price as shown below: This works pretty well for fairly ...
42
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't ATMs show blank arrows for unused buttons? [closed]

Have you ever had trouble lining the arrows up with the correct button on ATM consoles and other similar interfaces? Height of user can affect perceived alignment, as well as poor installation or ...
41
votes
10answers
4k views

Is a “Never tell your password to anyone” message in chat really necessary?

In almost every chat window I open, there's this fairly obvious statement: Never tell your [password/credit card/social security/etc] to anyone. Are there some standards for chat functionality that ...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

Would intentionally slowing down UI help to increase sales on shopping sites?

I've noticed that iTunes store is always slow, at first I thought it's just because iTunes is a bloatware (which it is, on both Mac and Windows.) However I started to wonder whether this is ...
40
votes
9answers
4k views

Touchscreens in car consoles

Last week this video about a new interface for touchscreens in cars popped up and created a reasonable buzz, maybe you've seen it already. I just got to watching it and it got me thinking about the ...
39
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I improve this large grid of checkboxes?

I'm doing a usability pass on a scheduling application. Users specify when they are available to work (by hour and day), and then a supervisor needs to select which of those users are assigned to ...
39
votes
14answers
3k views

Should I force the user to enter an email before actually using a paid app?

I am working on an iPad app. It's in the medical field and the app will be sold for $99, which is kind of expensive! The client and the developer want to force the user to give his/her email address ...
38
votes
6answers
4k views

Why is tree representation of data becoming unpopular?

I'm asking not about professional software like IDE's, but about OS GUI and web interfaces. A few years ago there was File manager in Windows, Gopher and other interfaces and data models like this. ...
35
votes
9answers
12k views

Dropdown vs radio button

User have to choose type of food (from 3 or 4 choices) in our application. Default selection is used in 60 - 70% of cases. What will be better: dropdown or radio buttons?
34
votes
8answers
4k views

Why don't chinese teacups have handles

I am mystified over the difference between an English tea cup and a Chinese tea cup. The difference is that a chinese teacup does not have a handle/"ear" while an English teacup does have a ...
34
votes
9answers
3k views

Can ugly be good UX?

It's heresy I know, but look at DrudgeReport.com. It's raw, hand written HTML, it's plain, boring typography, it's something any UX or Graphic designer would scoff at if you handed it across their ...
33
votes
9answers
6k views

Good reasons to use bad UI

I know you just read the title, take a deep breath. I'll explain. When should we make a conscious decision to retain poor UI, even if temporarily? Not because of budget or time constraints but ...
32
votes
9answers
7k views

Is there a more effective way to convince users to sign up with their social media accounts?

The current design for a sign-up page of mine is split into 2 sections - Sign up using your social media account on the left and a sign-up form with 5 inputs on the right. We ran a quick user test and ...
32
votes
10answers
2k views

Can't get users to choose the language they speak on language learning site

I making this website for users to learn languages. The idea is for them to choose a language they understand and a language they want to learn. In the home page the users choose a language they ...
31
votes
10answers
8k views

Is there an easier and more user friendly alternative to CAPTCHA?

I'm working on setting up a CAPTCHA on a project, and just thought about the user experience of it. I personally find them tedious, especially if they're too difficult. Even these are pretty easy ...
31
votes
8answers
2k views

Save, Favorite or Star?

I'm working on a job app and I would like to offer our user the possibility to save a job and let them find it quickly later. First I thought using a star icon to let them "star" a job like starring ...
30
votes
10answers
4k views

Show not implemented functionalities to tease the user

I'm working in a startup and we're building a web based application. Not all our features have been implemented yet but we want a way to tell the user that they'll be there one day. Our current ...
30
votes
9answers
4k views

Good UX for inputting 14 different times

I'm updating a form which has elements for each day of the week, and the user needs to select a start time and end time for each day. Currently this is just 14 different text boxes where users can ...
30
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the psychology behind laying out slabs at different angles for cyclists and pedestrians?

In the UK, we have many paths that are shared by pedestrians and cyclists, with a dividing line down the center to show who should be on which side of the path. I noticed that at the end of such ...
29
votes
5answers
33k views

Best Practices for UI design on Android (Usability/UX) [closed]

I'm switching for web development to Android development. I know some things about web usability and I see that UX is too often left behind on Android from my I experience with it. As the interaction ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the Windows Start button an example of poor mapping?

In my recent course on HCI, I've been told that start button on Windows systems is an example of poor mapping. The reason for that, as explained in materials, is that it doesn't start anything, but ...
28
votes
5answers
14k views

What is the optimum button size of touch screen applications?

There was a not so recent blog post about the ideal button size of touch screen control sizes (sorry there is no link, the website is now a spam trap) that was based on the study form the MIT touch ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Is usability gender specific?

I'm talking strictly usability, not UX as a whole: Is there a measurable difference between men and women? Can it happen that elements of a website work well for men but don't work for women or vice ...
27
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 ...
26
votes
7answers
3k views

Checkboxes - Is better to check exceptions or to uncheck exceptions?

I have a grid of ~20 checkboxes which users can utilize to select features. Typically, user might have ~15 features selected ~5 unselected for a co configuration. Deselection of features which a user ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are normal water coolers so low?

A lot of water coolers look like this: You usually have to bend down in order to place your glass under the spigot and fill it, which is annoying it if you're doing it more than a few times a day, ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

Does a self-learning UI make sense?

Let's say we have an application with 50 functions. Six of them are directly accessible as top menu items, the rest is accessible via sub-menus or sub-menus of sub-menus. While working with the ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

Character limits on fields - pros and cons and best practices?

Some of our form fields have character limits. We're debating whether we should reflect the current size of data entry, or to simply hard-limit and inhibit data entry beyond that size. In HTML, ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Why aren't Gmail-like “on-page” dialogs more popular UI solutions?

A few months ago, Gmail gave us the choice to switch to a new UI, with many new features (...) including an "on-page-docked" window. I personally find this piece of UI very useful as it allows users ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Use old or new name for an update confirmation message when name itself has been updated?

I want to provide a user of a web application some confirmation message like: The task "foobar" has been successfully updated. Now, in term of usability, if the update consists in changing ...
25
votes
8answers
4k views

Should the cross (or 'X' ) button do something other than close (e.g. minimize or hide)?

It's common for the user to use the cross button to exit an application. But sometimes software is tricky and the cross minimizes the window instead of closing it. Should this kind of behavior be ...