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I have two drop-downs, one for users and one for movie sorting. Do users like to see themselves represented in the same way as other interface elements? Or, do they prefer to look special?

Visual Aid of Project

In this example, the username drop-down has different styling and formatting than the movie sorting drop-down. Do users like this, or do they like for elements to look consistent?

If I formatted the site so that the drop-downs had the same color, styling, etc, would users think:

Man, I'm being treated the same way as an inanimate object.

Or, would they think:

Man, this website is so clean and uniform!

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    Extremely broad and irrelevant, it wont hurt anybody's ego if his dropdown isnt big enough. Size doesnt matter and looks dont either. If it does what you expect it to its good enough Mar 27, 2016 at 4:49
  • I think this is a really interesting question! I've seen a number of places where icons or shapes are used to differentiate usernames from other pieces of information so I think it's reasonable to ask, and the specific question about dropdowns with the same purpose but different schemas (names vs. users) is neither too broad nor too narrow.
    – octern
    Mar 27, 2016 at 16:44
  • An additional question might be whether users want other usernames to be represented in the same way as other data, but they want their username to have something special about it.
    – octern
    Mar 27, 2016 at 16:45
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    I have to agree with downrep_nation, no sane person is going to be offended by how their styling compares to other element's styling. They may or may not be confused by how the two are or are not related so that is something to look into, but offensive? No
    – DasBeasto
    Mar 27, 2016 at 17:48
  • No one will identify their self image with the styling of the means to access their profile page on your website. In fact, the means to access the profile page shouldn't be accentuated too much either in size or style because people are almost never going to access their profile page and it shouldn't be distracting. When I watch Netflix, I watch shows almost every day. I look at my profile page every few months maybe. I don't even think about my profile page except when I need to erase a show I accidentally clicked on from my history or I need to change my streaming quality settings.
    – Olathe
    Mar 29, 2016 at 6:18

1 Answer 1

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I'm trying to understand your question. Are you trying to ask if you should use a different style for the user and movie sorting dropdown or keep the design consistent?

The design and functionality of your UI components should always be consistent to improve the learnability of your UI design. A style guide is commonly use to set a similar style and design for UI components.

Having said that I think its okay for you to use a different design to differentiate between the user and movie sorting dropdown. The design differences shouldn't be too drastic so that the two drop down could still share the same front-end code. An example would be to change the color of the user dropdown to blue so that it matches your header color.

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  • I like your answer! Keep the design consistent, but you can also be slightly different for the user's design (e.g. background color).
    – Cøde Play
    Mar 28, 2016 at 15:16

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