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403

(Older) pocket calculators sometimes have several “cancel” buttons (C, CE, etc.) Typically, the CE button would only clear the last entry but not interrupt the current computation. For example, if you press 10 + 1 CE, you would see a 0, but the calculator still expects a second operand for the addition (i.e. it still has "10 +" in memory). Often, there would ...


277

Other answerers have provided great logical reasons for how these habits could come about, but I think it is simpler than that (plus, how often are any of us logical?). Calculators obviously have a state, since they do multi-step operations, but they don't clearly show their state. In many calculators, if you see a zero on the screen, you have no idea if ...


193

We want it to feel cheap when we buy but not when we give.


84

Users generally do prefer targeted ads to untargeted ones, all other things being equal. However, there are other important factors which explain why user reaction is mostly negative overall: Users don't spend all their time purchasing goods on the internet - often they are doing different and completely unrelated tasks, sometimes at the same time. Most ...


68

On some old calculators, the clear button had double duty: push once for clear-entry push twice for clear-all I think this meant that people tended to press clear a few times, to ensure that everything was cleared. It is possible that three clicks would clear the memory as well. This is one of those habits that people acquired early on in the use of ...


68

Well, after thinking for about 10 min, I have to agree with you that the second one does prompt the user to fill it up. Although the difference is minimal. For a stronger feeling of "emptiness", you can change the color of the meter according to the amount filled in. 1-2 bars: Red 3-4 bars: Yellow 5-6 bars: Green


62

Because most people living in the western world read from left to right, and that's how they imagine how time passes. It's a good question wether top to bottom would benefit Japanese customers or right-to-left certain Arabic cultures, on the other hand, the cultural influences of western media and western software does change that. It can be easily ...


45

The psychology behind the $0.99 was explored in depth in Priceless: The Hidden Psychology of Value, which if you ask for my humble opinion, is a life-changing book. Partly the reason for such price tags is that it translates for many as a 'sale' price. Against it, is that it is typically associated with 'hard sale'. The donation payment system is in its ...


38

One very possible reason for this is adaption and matching with the context in which the progress indicator is shown. Think about it, a progress indicator is usually displayed together with a descriptive text that explains what it is that is being processed. And what do we know about text.. well, for one thing it's written horizontally from left to right ...


35

The thing about gamification is that it's basically a buzzword. What does it even mean? Looking at examples around the web, Foursquare and StackExchange being good examples, what you're essentially seeing is apps that motivate behaviour they'd like to encourage with an extrinsic rewards system. When you think of it like that, there's a lot of research and ...


35

Generally speaking, disruptions and distractions negatively affect human performance, a common finding in cognitive psychology. Many studies have shown that distraction greatly increases task time on a wide variety of tasks. There also exist many Quantitative studies showing task performance is negatively affected by distractions (note these figures are ...


34

This quote is cute, often cited, and actually simply wrong. Even the nipple (as a feeding ‘device’) is learned – just ask some midwives and dry-nurses how many young mothers struggle with teaching(sic!) their newborns how to drink. Taking this into account, one should rather reconsider the concept of ‘intuitive’. See e.g. Glen's and Michael's answers.


33

On the ecommerce package I work on we have a placebo button in the form of the update quantity button in the shopping basket. To work around a technical limitation (to do with submitting quantity adjustments to multiple order lines at once) we needed to submit the form and update the quantity when the qty field lost focus. The update button was simply ...


32

I've found that that is almost ALWAYS the case when I am building anything. It's extremely important to complete your idea as you originally had it (unless you have small changes to improve it). My theory is that having a great but slightly imperfect product at all is much better than perpetually perfecting a product that isn't launched. Once you have ...


32

Since there is no negative outcome to hitting the button multiple times, the question becomes really more of, "why wouldn't you hit it more than once?" It would only take using a calculator with this behavior one time to create this behavior. Think of it this way.... A person who has never used a calculator that works this way, one day uses a ...


32

There was a fantastic case put forward a while ago (if I find it I'll edit this answer) that the ideal number is actually 4 stars. The idea is that people naturally gravitate towards the 3 in a 5-star system (or the 2 in a 3-star system) because it's easy. Go ahead and look at your iTunes library; if you're anything like me you have squillions of 3s. By ...


29

Good question. Wikipedia lists intuition as "thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection" - so basically, saying a UI is intuitive is like saying it exhibits several positive attributes: it's memorable, discoverable, easy to learn, familiar, matches expectation, and so forth. But let's not take my word for it. Let's refer ...


29

There could be a hardware related answer too. Before the GUI there was the DOS prompt/terminal interface. Progress bars here would have been rendered with characters, e.g. dots or filled squares. When coding it's far easier to show progress as growing from the left of the screen to the right because you can calculate the place the next character goes quite ...


27

The Print button on webpages is sometimes a placebo. Many sites use a print stylesheet so that you can simply File/Print the page and a nicely formatted version will print. But many (most?) users expect the printout to be pretty much the same as the screen view. So to manage people's expectations, some sites have a Print button that acts as a Print Preview ...


27

Gamification is a design tool. You might call it a buzzword or a temporal rage but it is gaining proper academic support. The most concise definition that I have come across is: Gamification is the use of game element and game design techniques in a non game context. Gamification needs voluntariness (if you are forced in a Points,badge system it is ...


25

Some people have a great memory for words, other people a great memory for faces. Some have both or neither. Some avatars can be completely generic and difficult to remember, such as Gravatar's autogenerated avatars. Others can be very unique and memorable. Your DVK example is a good one. Some usernames can be completely generic, such as this site's ...


24

“Intuitive” (technically, it should be “intuitable”) means the user can use the UI without having to consciously stop and figure the UI out. Learned habituated responses are performed without conscious thought, so intuitive includes more than instincts. Intuitive is desirable because the less the user has to think about the UI, the more they can focus on ...


24

This disparity is likely due to a variety of factors: It's not clear exactly how many colors humans can see. For example, the table at the top of this page about the number of colors distinguishable by the human eye cites various academic papers as saying anything from "more than 100,000" to "roughly 10 million." In any case, the number of colors visible ...


24

You shouldn't lie to your users. If the issue is a 404, don't use language that implies it's a 500; the server's not broken, and that page may never exist. There's no reason you can't use user-friendly language to communicate the actual issue, however. Plenty of sites use 404 language that apologize in human-friendly language for the page not existing, and ...


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 ...


22

I'm going to departure a bit from the current line of thought. Back in the typewritter days, I remember seeing my dad's accountant typing really fast on the machine. Whenever he paused for any reason, he kept pushing the "shift" button several times in a row. He knew pressing that key didn't do anything, and that was exactly the reason he pushed that key... ...


22

I don't have much in the way of hard data to back this up, but a number of sites which host user-generated links (eg. news aggregators, Wikipedia) specifically ban shortened URLs for trust reasons. Joshua Schachter (creator of Delicious) wrote a blog post explaining some of the issues with them.


22

One possible approach is to embrace the fact that the users aren't going to be completely objective while voting. And so you could try using a more explicit voting system, ie. more choices and more specific than the generic "like/dislike"-"upvote/downvote" pattern. The perfect example for this is BuzzFeed's rating system: Update: Another alternative is ...



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