For instance, we have a wonderful term for features that communicate interaction - Affordances.

Is there something for the visual/haptic/tactile/sound/any-other feedback of UI controls?

I'm looking if there is an umbrella term of sorts that describes all of these. It actually does not have to be limited to UI, because such feedback is essential for plethora of designs, it's what finalizes the communication.

My idea is to find a word/phrase that I might google to find hints/examples of their implementation in the wild.

Simply searching for UX feedback, provides results of how important it is to ask for a feedback from users how well the design worked...

Searching for tactile/visual feedback on the other hand, does not hint for interactions I might miss to create an even better control.

2 Answers 2


The more common term for the "UI Feedback" is... "Feedback".

As D.Norman says in his book THE DESIGN OF EVERYDAY THINGS:

Feedback—communicating the results of an action—is a wellknown concept from the science of control and information theory.

And here is an example out of the UI, but quite close to interaction design. As D.Norman writes:

Even as simple a task as picking up a glass with the hand requires feedback to aim the hand properly, to grasp the glass, and to lift it. A misplaced hand will spill the contents, too hard a grip will break the glass, and too weak a grip will allow it to fall. The human nervous system is equipped with numerous feedback mechanisms, including visual, auditory, and touch sensors, as well as vestibular and proprioceptive systems that monitor body position and muscle and limb movements.

  • Yeah, I was afraid this answer was coming. Especially after having browsed specifically for Norman's POV on the topic. Sadly, the term gets used a lot for other contexts too that it's pretty hard to google around it. :( Oct 29, 2019 at 16:31

For audio there are "earcons" but mostly it's all just feedback.

Feedback is the general term for what happens as part of the feedback loop that makes up an interaction. Affordances and feedback are both parts of that interaction as well as the input device, and the user themselves.

It can be hard to separate out individual parts of an interaction. You can try searching on "interactions" or "microinteractions" to find more examples of whole interactions that include feedback from UI elements or controls.

One specific term that does exist is an "earcon" which is an audio cue such as those used by Siri or Google to let you know the device is listening and ready to take your commands. They could be considered an affordance as they let you know what type of interaction is possible, but they can also be used as feedback to let you know an interaction is complete.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.