654
votes
16answers
104k views

Should “Yes, delete it” be red, or green?

Designing an interface for a CMS (Content Management System), I stumbled upon a paradox and I'm a bit confused about what to do and why to do. Context Before deleting an album, the user is asked to ...
486
votes
9answers
187k views

Why is the mouse cursor slightly tilted and not straight?

Is this a legacy thing or does a tilted cursor serves a purpose? I can tell that, the angle provides a totally vertical left edge which helps when highlighting text but what else apart from that? ...
436
votes
15answers
57k views

Should error messages apologize?

We are having a discussion on our team about an error message that says "Sorry, you do not have permission to access this feature. Please contact your administrator for assistance." Is it ...
412
votes
24answers
32k views

Why do people clear the screen multiple times when using a calculator?

I've noticed that most people when using a real or a virtual calculator, they hit the Clear button multiple times when clearing the screen (even though hitting it once is enough), so I started ...
382
votes
10answers
89k views

Why do credit card forms ask for Visa, MasterCard, etc.?

You can tell if it's a Visa or MasterCard based on the number it starts with, i.e. 4 for Visa, 5 for MasterCard. Why do most billing forms request the type of card? It's not a barrier for bots (to ...
306
votes
20answers
24k views

What explains the current shift from glossy UIs to matte UIs?

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon in the user interfaces of many famous applications, they're moving away from the glossy complex to a more dull and bare minimum design. Why the sudden change? ...
281
votes
13answers
57k views

Should I use Yes/No or Ok/Cancel on my message box?

Semantically, the Yes/No buttons are roughly equivalent to the Ok/Cancel buttons, but in general what would you recommend to use? Should I always use Yes/No or always use Ok/Cancel? Or does it depend ...
259
votes
20answers
33k views

Should a toggle button show its current state or the state to which it will change?

I have a quick question about buttons that toggle between two states. (Think Play/Pause, or Shuffle/Regular Play.) As the title says, should the toggle show it's current state or the state to which it ...
248
votes
15answers
36k views

Are carousels effective?

Go to just about any eCommerce site and the homepage is nearly guaranteed to feature a carousel - an auto-rotating panel, usually with some sort of small navigation, usually highlighting new product ...
247
votes
20answers
60k views

Is this rotating cube interface user-friendly?

I'm working on a prototype for an innovative form interface, where different parts of the form are shown on different sides of a cube. The cube rotates, and the user can fill it out as the cube spins. ...
245
votes
24answers
37k views

How can users be prevented from pouring water into the bean compartment of a coffee machine?

Typical coffee machines have two user-accessible compartments: one for water and one for coffee beans. Pouring water into the bean compartment kills most machines, the repairs cost a fortune. Now ...
229
votes
12answers
12k views

What to call “Cancel” when “Cancel” is already the default action?

When attempting to cancel a service or setting, "cancel" is the default action. What should the normal "cancel" button be called? Redbox uses a playful "just kidding", which may not be appropriate in ...
225
votes
4answers
17k views

Why do progress bars animate backwards?

Gmail's new loading bar drew my attention to this today: The colored pattern inside the bar animates from right to left. The Mac OS progress bars do the same: Is there a reason for this? If I ...
217
votes
15answers
42k views

Why do washing machines have windows?

I'm curious why every front-loaded washing machine I've seen so far comes with a window, while other household machines, like dishwashers, don't. From a design or UI/UX perspective, why would one ...
211
votes
15answers
41k views

Why do most public toilet doors open inwards?

The design of most public restrooms greatly caters for the ability to wash hands after the use of the toilette, providing facilities like sinks - sometimes with touchless faucets - soap dispensers, ...
211
votes
19answers
45k views

OK/Cancel on left/right?

Should OK button be on left of Cancel button or vice versa? Are there any studies suggesting either of the solutions?
209
votes
41answers
58k views

The must-read User Interface Book? [closed]

I'm looking for The Book that explains the essentials of user interface and user experience design. I read Beautiful Visualization and Designing Interfaces from O'Reilly. I think they are very good ...
200
votes
22answers
21k 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. ...
188
votes
11answers
41k views

Why do users click randomly and rapidly when an application hangs?

This question came to me when I witnessed a collegue's behaviour on an application freezing due to a large operation. And it's something I've certainly done myself. An app freezes for more than a ...
177
votes
10answers
25k views

Do we “exit”, “quit” or “close” an application?

Do we “exit” an application, do we “quit” an application, do we “close” an application? This is in relation to a desktop app. What is the most meaningful term to use?
173
votes
10answers
18k views

Should a sentence ending with a URL terminate with a period?

Suppose my web service needs to send a password recovery e-mail message to the user. The message will contain a link (with some disposable token). Something like: To reset your password please ...
172
votes
12answers
23k views

Is there a point to paginating articles online?

Is it better to paginate a long article or show the entire article on one page? The following is a side-by-side of the same article. On the left is page one with navigation and on the right is the ...
167
votes
23answers
56k views

How To Display Too Much Data

We're building a web-based platform where the main dashboard shows a table of data for users to view and analyze. As we're growing this tool, we seem to be adding more and more columns and are running ...
167
votes
2answers
27k views

Why do movie posters use credit fonts that are hard to read?

Many contemporary movie posters typeset the credits in an extremely thin font: Is this just out of convention or is there a particular reason for deliberately making the credits hard to read?
166
votes
20answers
22k views

How would you have avoided the Miss Universe 2015 mistake?

In case you missed it, over a week ago Steve Harvey incorrectly announced Miss Colombia as winner of the Miss Universe 2015 pageant. He later apologized and corrected himself; Miss Philippines won. ...
156
votes
13answers
12k views

Why shouldn't we use words such as 'here' and 'this' in textlinks?

Over the years of surfing on the web I have found numerous examples of people saying that you shouldn't use the word "here" in a textlink etc. Personally I like the idea of using the word, because it ...
155
votes
17answers
46k views

Using “Sign in” vs using “Log in”

Is there any research in this area, it seems "Sign in" is more common and hence more recommended.
154
votes
14answers
24k views

Do people really want to look at multiple windows at once?

I'm referring to Jakob Nielsen's alertbox from November 19, 2012. He complains about the lack of windows in Windows 8: Lack of Multiple Windows = Memory Overload for Complex Tasks One of the ...
153
votes
13answers
8k 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 ...
144
votes
13answers
15k views

Why is this design considered cluttered or overwhelming?

I'm developing a web app for Desktop and Tablet browsers. All of my UX knowledge stems from personal experience and iteration - I've never been formally trained. I took great care in presenting the ...
144
votes
7answers
26k views

Why is the 0 next to 9, not next to 1? [duplicate]

On almost all keyboard layouts I have ever seen, the 0 is to the right of the 9, rather than to the left of the 1 (the original Dvorak layout is the only exception I can think of; it has 0 between 9 ...
139
votes
12answers
23k views

Why do idle elevators close the doors?

If the elevator stops on a floor, opens the doors to let the passengers out, and hasn't received a command to go on another floor, why does it close its doors afterwards? If the elevator is not on my ...
136
votes
16answers
9k views

How to discover what users NEED and not what they WANT?

I have been thinking a lot about my favorite quote from Henry Ford: If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'Faster Horses'. -Henry Ford The trouble I have been having is that ...
130
votes
17answers
12k views

How to encourage honest user behavior in UI

My company creates solutions for waste management facilities. One particular piece of software is used on touch screens at the entrance of a facility. The municipiality runs the facility. We don't ...
125
votes
5answers
14k views

Are you sure you want to answer this question?

We've all seen these types of warnings: "Are you sure you want to shut down Windows?" I hear a lot of people frustratingly reply: "Yes, of course, otherwise I wouldn't have clicked it!" These ...
125
votes
5answers
8k views

Avoiding the Hermann grid illusion

I'm a UX newbie and I'm trying to design a page of image thumbnails. I came up with this: The trouble is that this layout creates the Hermann Grid illusion. When looking at the grid, most people ...
122
votes
14answers
11k 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 ...
122
votes
9answers
15k views

What's the purpose of “This page is intentionally left blank” we see in books?

What's the purpose of "This page is intentionally left blank" we see in books? Why not just leave the page blank and write nothing on it?
119
votes
16answers
18k views

Is the folder structure dying?

In our digital world we have previously been forced to know the location of digital content. The obvious one being the local hard drive or a shared file server where sometimes extreme structures have ...
118
votes
18answers
10k views

Why is it important to focus on user needs as opposed to requests?

This question is written with digital product design in mind, but is not exclusively tailored towards digital. It is pretty accepted that in order to design the 'best' solution to a problem, you need ...
118
votes
11answers
6k views

How Do I Avoid Users Becoming Numb to Warnings?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because it's bitten me in the behind a few times. Think of the Windows User Account Control in Windows Vista (and to a lesser extent Windows 7). The idea is ...
117
votes
9answers
9k views

“Your” vs “My” in user interfaces

Some user interfaces feature titles such as: My documents My photos My previous orders While others opt for: Your documents Your photos Your previous orders Are their any guidelines addressing ...
114
votes
14answers
21k views

Why should we ask the password twice during registration?

It would be easier to ask for a user's password only once during registration. The problem: The user could make a mistake while typing the password once because of hiding letters. The solution: The ...
114
votes
19answers
10k views

How could one prevent drunk users from using a mobile application?

Consider a mobile application which for some reason needs to prevent drunk users from using it (e.g. to avoid dreaded "drunk dials" or "drunk texts"). How could "sober authentication" be executed from ...
113
votes
18answers
42k views

What is best practice for designing form error messages?

I've seen quite a lot of research on form design, but so far, I haven't come across any studies on error message design best practices. The only piece of advice seems to be that each error should ...
109
votes
9answers
8k views

Should you always minimize cognitive load?

The title says it all. I enjoy reading UX questions and answers from Stack Exchange's hot network questions, and I often see people justify their answers by saying it minimizes cognitive load. I ...
108
votes
19answers
27k 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 ...
107
votes
12answers
15k views

Why did the mouse beat the light pen, paddle, and other pointing devices?

I recently watched the mother of all demos from 1968 which did an excellent job of showing how computers can be personal. Something that stood out to me was the mouse. This device has remained ...
107
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 ...
105
votes
9answers
14k views

Why might right aligned field labels be better?

For the longest time, I've used left-aligned labels in my forms, like this: I did this because I thought having the labels left aligned made it easier for readers to scan the list of labels. ...

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