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175

Besides the arguments others have listed (Aircraft requirements, power saving) we should not forget about security. Before the tablet and smartphone era you had a great control over your computer in an emergency: if you pulled the UTP cable, you could guarantee that the computer is isolated from the network. If you pulled the power cord, you could guarantee ...


142

Security A hardware radio switch has security benefits to it in that when it is off, you know for a fact that nothing is connected to your laptop wirelessly. The radio switch usually turns off all wireless communication, including Bluetooth and 3G. I have heard that this is a requirement in certain military environments, but I have not seen any evidence ...


72

Excellent answers so far. I would attempt to connect the dots between recording and red button like this: Apart from the traditional warning usage, a red light has been used in many scenarios to represent on-going work - radio show room when on air, operation theater when operation is going on, etc. The reason behind that would be the same - it is highly ...


52

Airplanes These switches allow you to disable wireless transmitters without first turning them on in the middle of a flight, when their use may be prohibited. There seems to be some consternation regarding this answer. I have reworded it to address some of the concerns that have been voiced. In addition... I'm not saying that any rules regarding the ...


36

The Microsoft Office suite appears to have put a greater emphasis on Add-Ins. For default installations, none are included hence the splash screen only stays up for a very short time. However, for Office power users, they may have many Add-Ins (especially enterprise users who develop their own custom AddIns) which will significantly slow the startup time ...


34

In an actual plane, the steering column isn't really pulled up or down. Instead the pilot pushes the steering wheel or joystick away to dive, and pulls it towards him to pull up. Same goes for games which you control with a joystick. You push it away to go forward, and back to go backward. This forward and backward motion is most probably why inverted ...


31

Before you completely hide a part of the UI for a feature which the user doesn't have access to, consider: Will the user know about that feature? Will they spend a lot of time hunting for it? Would you be better off keeping it around in some kind of "disabled" state along with a tooltip or other indicator so that they can learn why it's not available? ...


31

The symbol on each button was created with references to sheet music and inventor's background. For example, the || in pause may come from the Japanese character リ and/or Caesura. The media control UI were first introduced by Swedish Engineer Philip Olsson while he was working in Japan. He also had a degree from Swedish design school. The glyphs were ...


24

I definitely agree with Rahul, that it depends on the context. A calendar widget is super useful for going back or forward a few months, but not so great for picking your birthdate -- that'd be a clicking nightmare! I personally hate those date pull-downs to pick your birthdate, also, as they tend to be a pain to hit your target selection, but I saw a nifty ...


23

I do believe a regular textbox with an indication of the expected format is often enough. Like Kevin mentioned, if you use a date picker you should absolutely provide a method for direct entry. Many people prefer to simply type the date. But this is what I do on Techinsurance.com... Of course I have client and server side validation in place as well. ...


23

What kind of “hundreds of options” is it? If the field is something like “Country”, where the user will know what their answer should be without needing to read all the options, then a drop-down list is ideal: it’s simple to use, it takes little page-space, and is easy to display and to select from on most devices. If the field is something like “Airport”, ...


23

I like JohnGB's answer. It's less fiddly and more visible than the slider. For the sake of offering an alternative, if you do want to retain the slider, I would consider taking the 'never' option out. It doesn't really fit within the concept of a fixed range that the slider implies. In this version, you would only show the duration slider if "Delete ...


22

If you choose to have a settings button, you should make sure it's always discoverable. Users can be distracted at any point of time and for any length of time - don't rely on those two seconds after page loading, because the user might just be busy looking at the whole page (or that other tab she was loading simultaneously). Now whether you choose to give ...


20

The main problem non-technical users have with Boolean logic is understanding the difference between AND and OR because it doesn’t always correspond to natural language (e.g., “show me orders from New York and New Jersey” almost certainly means Location = NY OR Location = NJ). Often users tend to interpret "or" to be an an exclusive OR. Then there’s the ...


20

See also iTunes 9 or later. It adds the ability to do "nested" AND / OR expressions, akin to how a programmer would do it with parenthesis:


20

The way that you have it now breaks the way that we expect numbers to work. 90 days is greater than 10 days, so the 90 days option is on the right. Never is the equivalent of infinity days, and so it should be the last option on the right. The far left option on the slider would correspond to never keeping them in the first place - assuming you want that ...


20

In Emergency Situations Sometimes you need to turn off your internet connection as fast as possible. For example, you download a software, then double click on it, and then you realize that it is not the genuine .exe file but it is a malicious file. In this situation, you may want to turn of your connection as fast as possible, and it may take a very long ...


19

Typically even a tri-state checkbox is still to be treated as a two-state check box in terms of the user's interaction. The user should not be able to switch it between all three states - only between checked and unchecked. It is only if the information that is related is not in either state that the box is 'displayed' in the tri-state. What does it even ...


18

I think of this more as a mental model issue. Imagine if there was no mouse, but rather you were doing it with your hand. Most people are right-handed. My mental model is that I am moving the scrollbar with my right hand. Therefore, scrollbar on the left would indicate that my arm is moving across (in front of) the content and blocking my vision so I can ...


18

The interfaces may look very similar to you, but they are constantly evolving, and have been refined for many years. Firefox in particular is very open about their UX process, and how they rely on user telemetry to understand how people use their browser. They don't simply copy features. They try to understand their users. In the early days, browsers could ...


17

I believe this design was invented by McCrickard and Catrambone of the Georgia Institute of Technology: McCrickard DS & Catrambone R (1999). Beyond the scrollbar: An evolution and evaluation of alternative navigation techniques. Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, p270-277. It seems very similar ideas were independently ...


17

If you use the slider, stick with it as the sole means of control. Extra controls add too much "tool time" in making the decision and may be confusing. The solution I propose is to simply reverse the fine concept you have. Make "Never" at the END of the slider and 1 as the lowest value on the slider. Set the slider to the default setting or a ...


16

Wifi takes power. If you have limited battery life, being able to physically power-down the wifi card might buy you back a little power. Otherwise, the OS might continually poll the airwaves looking for a signal and draining the battery a little faster.


15

as creator of Bootstrap, perhaps I can shed some light on this :). Prepended and appended inputs serve two purposes: Allowing for simple punctuation or units to be paired with an input. For example, if you need to indicate a field is asking for money, use the prepend with a $ sign. Other examples include @ with a username (a la Twitter.com's settings ...


15

Some possible explanations: Electrical components, containing high power circuits like a switch, have harder safety requirements in a bathroom, where there is access to water and the risk of injury from an electrical shock or a discharge is higher, than on the outside. Compare for example the low power sockets intended for a shaver that you can find in ...


15

A couple reasons that I use my Wi-Fi switch that other people haven't mentioned: When I'm in a LAN party, I want to force my computer to use the Ethernet cable networking me with other players to get the most out of my network and prevent some random app from interrupting play. I don't trust public networks, so when I'm not in a Wi-Fi zone I trust, I turn ...


14

Remember that user-friendliness is a product of your audience and the domain of your app. For instance, if you're building a service like Kayak, you're going to be focusing on reasonably tech-savvy users who will be using date controls a lot during their experience with your app. On the other hand, Google and Amazon have broader audiences and fewer ...


14

Good question! Tabs have unlimited height and they can span a number of screens, while an accordion must fit on one screen. It's not a technical limitation, of course, but it would be a terrible idea to make an accordion that expands away out of my field of view, because then I'd have to scroll down to click the next "bar", just to have it expand up and ...


14

I immediately wondered if the images could be wired up to open the preference setting they refer to. Assuming that won't work, three tactics come to mind: Try turning the preference control images to grayscale, so that they can still be visually identified but also recognized as reference images, not actual controls. Try showing a bit of the area ...



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