We talk about visual noise to refer to profuse, redundant or meaningless elements towards the purpose of the design.

What's the name when it comes to "noise" in interactivity?

  • The bottom image has a redundant click: displaying a two-line image caption below a photo.


Searching the internet for "click noise" or "interactivity noise" only gives sound effect answers...

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    I would call it a "superfluous interaction".
    – Izquierdo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 17:22
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    That's NOT a redundant click. Captions provide valuable information to users with low or no vision. The caption is included in this page in a way that screen readers can pick up and offer the user the option to read it or skip it. To prevent having a two-tiered site (one for users with accessibility need and another for those without) this designer/developer has come up with a solution that serves both. The ableist habit of viewing accessibility concessions as superfluous features needs to stop. In any case, I never talk about any kind of "noise" but I do talk about cognitive load. Dec 16, 2021 at 21:13
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    And one might argue that forcing users to constantly expand information panels to retrieve small amounts of information creates an obstacle for users with mobility impairments.
    – Izquierdo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:27
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    @AndrewMartin - Captions provide valuable information to users with low or no vision. - Ok, what's the point of hiding it and making it visible after a click? Why not simply leave it visible?
    – Danielillo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:54
  • 1
    @AndrewMartin Screen readers don't need an accordion's expand/collapse functionality to make content optionally skippable, and I would not recommend that engineers code pages that way.
    – Izquierdo
    Dec 17, 2021 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


This is sometimes referred to as 'excise'.

Alan Cooper in the classic software guide About Face refers to the larger term Excise whenever you have extra decorations, extra interactions, and the like:

This could be classified as visual excise: (page 226)

Visual excise is the work that a user has to do to decode visual information, such as finding a single item in a list, figuring out where to begin reading on a screen, or determining which elements on it are clickable and which are merely decoration.

A broader summary of problems with excise in the book:

The problem with excise tasks is that the effort we expend in doing them doesn’t go directly towards accomplishing our goals. Where we can eliminate the need for excise tasks, we make people more effective and productive and improve the usability of a product, ultimately creating a better user experience. As an interaction designer, you should become sensitive to the presence of excise and take steps to eradicate it with the same enthusiasm a doctor would apply to curing an infection. The existence of excise in user interfaces is a primary cause of user dissatisfaction with software-enabled products. It behooves every designer and product manager to be on the lookout for interaction excise in all its

  • Cool, I didn't know this, but this answer raises a lot of other questions for me. Anyway, excise refers to visual elements, not to interaction or clicks, which is what I mean in the question. "Clicks Excise"? By the way there isn't a literal Spanish translation, excise is related to "tax". I keep investigating.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 14:37
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    'tax' is a perfect root for this. If you read the book, he also refers to interactions, unnecessary processes, and anything that 'gets in the way' of a user accomplishing a goal.
    – Mike M
    Dec 16, 2021 at 14:48
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    Excise task is closer. Maybe I don't understand it very well because of the translation or because I can't find the right word in Spanish. I will ask the question in SpanishSE. Very good info anyway.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 14:58
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    @Danielillo Maybe there is no direct Spanish word but it is like tax: The extra effort you have to "pay" on top of the minimal effort it would cost. Just like with products that you would gladly pay for if it had the normal price, but with the excise tax you know that the price is artificially kept high. (Normally governments that charges extra on products that involve health problems and addictions, like cigarettes.)
    – jazZRo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 16:50
  • Yes, I'm getting it (or I still in process 😉 ) I have an answer similar than your comment in SpanishSE. I think it's a lost in translation issue. We can say "Tarea impuesta" for excise task but "Visual impuesto" or "impuesto visual" sounds weird, it should be "imposición visual" although it deviates slightly from the meaning of @MikeM 's answer. Impuesto Visual is a real tax.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 17:40

The British slang term Faff fits well.

From https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/faff we have...

(Britain, slang) An overcomplicated task, especially one perceived as a waste of time.

I'd suggest "faffUX" but you might get in trouble saying it out loud ;)

  • 1
    In OP’s case, it’s not an overcomplicated task. Task is simple - click the button to expand. But this button should not be required and that info should be visible as default. OP is asking for a term to denote that should-not-be-required interaction which is thrusted on user.
    – Mohit
    Dec 30, 2021 at 6:55
  • Perhaps, but Faff is a lot more fun. It's a slang approach to answering the question as opposed to being academic about it. Not all solutions or answers need to be academic.
    – Tim Holt
    Dec 31, 2021 at 1:30

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