594
votes
16answers
93k 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 ...
445
votes
7answers
179k 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? ...
394
votes
15answers
51k 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 ...
362
votes
20answers
27k 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 ...
352
votes
10answers
72k 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 ...
270
votes
20answers
18k 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? ...
258
votes
13answers
48k 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 ...
232
votes
24answers
35k 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 ...
212
votes
12answers
10k 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 ...
208
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
206
votes
20answers
51k 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. ...
206
votes
15answers
38k 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 ...
198
votes
15answers
26k 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 ...
186
votes
15answers
34k views

Why do most public toilet doors open inwards?

The design of public restrooms usually pays great attention to hand washing, providing facilities like wash basin - sometimes with touch free taps - soap dispenser, hand drier or paper towels... All ...
184
votes
41answers
39k views

Must-read User Interface Book? [closed]

I'm looking for a book that explains the basics of user interfaces and user experiences. I read Beautiful Visualization and Designing Interfaces from O'Reilly and I think they are very good. Can you ...
175
votes
17answers
14k 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 ...
171
votes
11answers
39k 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 ...
162
votes
21answers
16k 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. ...
161
votes
10answers
20k 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?
161
votes
23answers
27k 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?
159
votes
12answers
21k 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 ...
159
votes
10answers
12k 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 ...
152
votes
2answers
19k 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?
148
votes
14answers
22k 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 ...
141
votes
13answers
10k 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 ...
130
votes
13answers
6k 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 ...
119
votes
16answers
7k 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 ...
115
votes
14answers
9k 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 ...
110
votes
19answers
31k 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 ...
110
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
107
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
107
votes
19answers
9k 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 ...
99
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 ...
98
votes
10answers
7k views

Do unique icon contours help people scan?

Many years ago, I ran across a good icon design tutorial. It said that having unique contours to icons help users scan for the item they're looking for. If this is true, why don't iPhone and Android ...
97
votes
19answers
13k 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 ...
97
votes
13answers
24k 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.
96
votes
20answers
13k views

Toilet flush buttons

This question has been bugging me ever since I've started learning usability. I am talking about the two buttons for the flush : Full and half container. On one hand, the button shape has to ...
96
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
96
votes
16answers
26k views

Is coffee a good excuse for a slow application start-up time?

I was dragged into a meeting with a client to consult on any usability issues as we watched a user performing day-to-day operations with a software application. The first thing that happened was that ...
95
votes
9answers
11k 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. ...
92
votes
3answers
5k views

Psychology behind $0.99 for paid apps, but $1.00 for donation apps?

I've noticed a trend (at least on the Google Play store) of application prices ending in x.99, while 'donation' apps usually end on the dollar. I see the reasoning behind the psychology that makes a ...
91
votes
11answers
13k 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 ...
90
votes
13answers
23k views

Why do door knobs still exist?

As far as I know, in US, grip-and-turn style door knobs are still the most popular, as opposed to lever-style handles, which dominate in the rest of the world. Is there some UX advantage to door ...
88
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
87
votes
12answers
4k views

How do you give your user options without overloading them?

I was using WinSCP the other day for transferring files, when I came across this.. umm.. I'll call it a set of options, but it was more like an interview. Oh boy. I just want to move a file. Now I ...
87
votes
17answers
20k 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 ...
86
votes
11answers
9k views

How to “force” users to upgrade their browser?

I couldn't think of a better title for this question, but please don't jump to conclusions - I don't really want to point a gun at my users heads! I have a site that works well with the modern ...
85
votes
13answers
11k views

CAPTCHA on mobile: what are the alternatives?

From a UX perspective, CAPTCHA's are bad, bad, bad. But let's say we have this as a requirement. And it's for a hybrid app (compiled app, but built upon an HTML5 platform). I'm trying to find out: ...
84
votes
8answers
8k views

What reason could Nintendo have had for putting the A and B buttons the wrong way round?

When Nintendo brought out it's first game system, the NES, it had a controller with four buttons: Select Start A B However, somewhere, a designer, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the A and ...
83
votes
12answers
16k views

Removing placeholder text on focus

Chrome, Safari, and Firefox 15+ remove placeholder text after pressing first key in the text input. Opera, IE, and Firefox 14 and below remove placeholder text immediately after focusing the text ...

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