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What do you call a user interface decision that makes a it partially easier to do a thing, but as a result you overshadow a more complete solution. The users then don't end up using the complete feature and are eventually worse off because of this.

Example, in Adobe Illustrator you have several ways to rotate objects. The most commonly used way is the selection tool's rotate ability, which is copied from PowerPoint and Freehand (the original Illustrator design didn't have this feature). The dedicated rotate tool is better, but users don't find it because they think they already use the right tool. This leads users being frustrated or disappointed.

EDIT: This isnt about adobe software that is just an example. This also isnt about progressive disclosure since for progressive disclosure to happen you need to be able to progress this does not apply in this case. Its more like broken progressive disclosure.

  • BJ Foggs tunnelling comes to mind. He uses it for wizard-like processes where users are guided through the most commonly used functionality as a way to persuade them that this is the approach they need. However you seem to be giving it a negative connotation, whereas it clearly is made to ease people. – mapto Oct 10 at 5:47
  • Or how about simply shortcut? – mapto Oct 10 at 5:47
  • @BJFoggs it can be positive and it can be negative. In a wizard there is a affordance to notice there are more options. In this case there is not – joojaa Oct 10 at 6:08
  • @mapto but its not really a shortcut because it does not do the same thing. – joojaa Oct 10 at 6:08
  • The way I see it, they all rotate. What I called shortcut is less customisable, thus quicker (and hopefully does the job 80% of the cases). The other one would be the fully-functional feature that has all the possible parametrisations, i.e. for advanced users. Clearly, this is just a way of looking at it and if you see it differently, it's no less valid view. – mapto Oct 10 at 8:37
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I don't know if there is a term for this "simplified feature obscures (knowledge of) the complete set of features" situation. What I do know is that Adobe made an attempt to apply something called progressive disclosure. This is the practice of providing a simplified UI for less complex tasks and make advanced options less obtrusive. It prevents less skilled users to get overwhelmed by too much options and assumes that expert users who need the advanced options will know where to find them.

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  • Yeah well its not working out very well, because of political reasons they use it to advertise features management wants not what a users wants. The end result is that atleast in illustrators case the learning process is even more overwhelming. – joojaa Oct 12 at 8:22
  • Anyway this is not really about progressive disclosure, its more about a word for problems cosued by badly implemented features. In this case this is not a progressive disclosure issue though. – joojaa Oct 12 at 8:30

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