Questions tagged [usability]

The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

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265 votes
26 answers

Save icon, is the floppy disk icon dead?

This Twitter post sparked me to ask the question: totally! RT @damienguard: Dear UI designers everywhere. Stop using floppy disk icons for save. Too many people have no idea what it is now. ...
rick schott's user avatar
  • 4,725
191 votes
13 answers

Language of language names in the language selector?

Imagine a site that's available in multiple languages. The language is detected automatically by looking at the IP or the browser header. But that's not bulletproof, so a few users might end up on a ...
greenforest's user avatar
  • 8,746
133 votes
5 answers

Why are vote buttons on Stack Exchange shown when they can't be used?

I've often wondered why Stack Exchange has opted to keep the upvote/downvote buttons available for clicking on question/answers posted by the user. For instance: Even though these buttons have no use ...
shortstheory's user avatar
  • 1,363
132 votes
10 answers

Is Markdown Friendly Enough for Non-Technical Users?

The Problem I love using Markdown to write questions, answers, posts, comments, etc. That being said, I am a very technical, detail-oriented, programmer type. However, I am working on a CMS of sorts ...
brad's user avatar
  • 1,421
124 votes
15 answers

Why are terminal consoles still used?

As we all know, terminal consoles come from a time where there wasn't any chance of graphical interfaces, so the need for them is more than obvious. With the appearance of graphical interfaces, many ...
Devin's user avatar
  • 37.3k
116 votes
7 answers

What can we do to make UX Stack Exchange badges accessible?

In Stack Exchange, the three main Badge types (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) are differentiated with color alone. This would be challenging for users with color blind related issues to identify Badge ...
Sooraj MV's user avatar
  • 3,599
108 votes
13 answers

Why do showers have "hot" and "cold" knobs rather than "temperature" and "quantity" knobs?

I do not understand the advantage of the popular "hot" and "cold" controls in showers, as opposed to "temperature" and "quantity" controls. Is it simply because the latter option is harder to ...
Zaenille's user avatar
  • 2,787
103 votes
6 answers

What is the use of Google’s "Google Search" Button?

I'm sure whenever we used to type a keyword in the search bar of Google, the Google changes its search bar UI and the search button become useless in the home page.
Pradeep's user avatar
  • 2,934
102 votes
7 answers

Star vs Heart icon to represent save as a favourite

I am working on a mobile app that involves the user saving a favourite location. I wanted to use an icon to represent that feature, but I'm not sure which one is better – a star or a heart icon. Some ...
Buck Fuhu's user avatar
  • 953
99 votes
13 answers

Is Microsoft's Ribbon UI really that great, from a usability perspective?

The first time I ever used it was at my current job. Among my co-workers, the feelings towards it for usability are mixed. The other developer doesn't really care one way or the other, as long as the ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
  • 1,370
97 votes
2 answers

Why is Google using a (new) 2 step Gmail sign in process?

I am not asking about the two factor authentication process where the user needs to enter both a password and a one-time-password. Gmail recently (I don't know from when exactly) changed their login ...
exexzian's user avatar
  • 1,186
95 votes
13 answers

Deletion: Confirm or Undo? Which is the better option and why?

Which one is the better option and why? Delete with Confirmation [The action cannot be undone] or Delete with one click [And provide option to Undo]
Surjith S M's user avatar
  • 1,232
87 votes
13 answers

Should a dropdown list be closed when mouse leaves?

Should a dropdown list be automatically closed when you leave current object and navigate to another, or should it remain opened until you open next dropdown list? Dropdown closed when mouse leaves ...
rpavl's user avatar
  • 1,681
87 votes
5 answers

Why do most microwaves open from the right to the left?

Why do all of the microwaves that are used in our houses opening from the right side to left side? I've never seen any that do the opposite. I called LG company and asked them why and I got an answer ...
Krebto's user avatar
  • 1,924
86 votes
9 answers

Why is the "Record" icon always round and usually red?

I've been wondering why the symbol for 'record' is universally (AFAIK - has anyone seen exceptions?) a circle and usually red. Cameras, VCRs, voice recorders, smartphones, web apps... I've seen cases ...
Jessica Yang's user avatar
  • 1,985
84 votes
10 answers

Which way to turn a knob to increase?

I'm making an app with a skeumorph knob that you can turn clock- and counterclockwise to increase/decrease an amount. But what direction is the correct one? I bet that there is a high degree of ...
astalabandi's user avatar
  • 1,072
78 votes
11 answers

Should users be allowed to use any special character they want when creating a password?

I came across a number of login configuration settings where there is a list of allowable special characters and was wondering: Does this limitation cater for a specific security or usability need? ...
Okavango's user avatar
  • 6,996
73 votes
6 answers

Infinite scroll vs Pagination in E-commerce websites

Infinite scroll has been around for a while now, however I have not seen infinite scroll being implemented on any successful or well known e-commerce sites. Does anyone know of any e-commerce sites ...
Rich's user avatar
  • 3,532
71 votes
7 answers

Why are calculator screen digits right-aligned?

Is there any logical reason behind digit alignment on a calculator? If yes, can we apply this for visual interfaces of numbers on the web?
Jivan's user avatar
  • 3,678
71 votes
8 answers

Why do traffic lights have three separate light bulbs instead of having one?

Recently, I checked out a concept design for a traffic light with only one light. Do you know the exact reason for having three lamps in a row, instead of one like in this concept?
Abektes's user avatar
  • 5,571
71 votes
9 answers

Dropdown vs radio button

User have to choose type of food (from 3 or 4 choices) in our application. Default selection is used in 60 - 70% of cases. What will be better: dropdown or radio buttons?
tomas.jerabek's user avatar
69 votes
10 answers

Is it safe to assume everyone uses / has mouse wheels?

Is it safe to assume all users are aware of using the mouse wheel to scroll and that all users have a mouse wheel on their mouse? I'm hoping to implement a scrollbar which stays hidden even when you ...
nuwa's user avatar
  • 2,848
67 votes
5 answers

What is the optimum button size of touch screen applications?

There was a not so recent blog post about the ideal button size of touch screen control sizes (sorry there is no link, the website is now a spam trap) that was based on the study form the MIT touch ...
Michael Lai's user avatar
  • 26.7k
66 votes
11 answers

Touchscreens in car consoles

Last week this video about a new interface for touchscreens in cars popped up and created a reasonable buzz, maybe you've seen it already. I just got to watching it and it got me thinking about the ...
Paul van den Dool's user avatar
64 votes
3 answers

Why are aluminium soda cans typically round instead of square?

Why are beverage cans usually round? Considering the amount that are made, and the need to be transported - isn't a round design inefficient? (ie the lost space from not tightly fitting together). ...
Midas's user avatar
  • 6,547
59 votes
13 answers

Personal information in messages

Is it good to add some personal information (name, username or other) in success or error messages?
Igor Gubaidulin's user avatar
58 votes
9 answers

What color for error messages for a form with a red background?

I have a big website with some forms. There are four background-colours for the form components. One of them is pink/red. Here the image and the error message: I can't change the form background-...
Baumannzone's user avatar
54 votes
15 answers

Why don’t we remove door handles and let doors open both ways (inwards, outwards)?

In browsing the site today, I came across a question about doors somewhat related to something I’ve been wondering for a LONG LONG time: Why don’t we remove all door handles and let doors open both ...
Son Do Lenh's user avatar
  • 1,686
54 votes
9 answers

Do non-technical/non-web savvy users understand the concept of tags?

Here at Stack Exchange we're currently wrestling with weaknesses in our tags system. As we open up new verticals – some of which include very non-technical users like cooking – we suspect that the ...
Jeremy T's user avatar
  • 2,315
54 votes
4 answers

Character limits on textarea fields - pros and cons and best practices?

Some of our form fields have character limits. We're debating whether we should reflect the current size of data entry, or to simply hard-limit and inhibit data entry beyond that size. In HTML, ...
Erics's user avatar
  • 9,271
51 votes
9 answers

How can I make monochrome icons work?

My company has just implemented a monochrome icon theme in an attempt to transition to a more "modern" interface. Feedback from the first round of user testing has been mixed: Almost everybody ...
hash_collision's user avatar
50 votes
7 answers

Why do most programs separate Find and Replace dialogs?

Why do most programs separate Find and Replace dialogs? Obviously, I'm talking about apps like text editors and word processors, apps that are used for editing content. It just seems strange, at best,...
typo's user avatar
  • 500
49 votes
10 answers

How to suggest a person to turn a page to see more details?

We are building a printed voucher (hard copy) for lab tests which looks like the following : The lab test center people who take the tests should mark the checkboxes with a pen or a marker against ...
aelor's user avatar
  • 593
48 votes
10 answers

Is a "Never tell your password to anyone" message in chat really necessary?

In almost every chat window I open, there's this fairly obvious statement: Never tell your [password/credit card/social security/etc] to anyone. Are there some standards for chat functionality that ...
Gigazelle's user avatar
  • 583
48 votes
11 answers

Why don't chinese teacups have handles

I am mystified over the difference between an English tea cup and a Chinese tea cup. The difference is that a chinese teacup does not have a handle/"ear" while an English teacup does have a handle/"...
Computernerd's user avatar
  • 1,496
47 votes
10 answers

Display big numbers in a small area

I am developing an accounting app where I display several orders. Every order has a price. I have a box where I would like to display the price as shown below: This works pretty well for fairly ...
GETah's user avatar
  • 584
47 votes
13 answers

Can ugly be good UX?

It's heresy I know, but look at It's raw, hand written HTML, it's plain, boring typography, it's something any UX or Graphic designer would scoff at if you handed it across their ...
Ben Brocka's user avatar
  • 40.8k
46 votes
4 answers

What is a button supposed to look like?

Buttons used to be easily identifiable. Not anymore. Some buttons today are not immediately identifiable as buttons. And with some it's unclear whether they are enabled or not. But the old buttons ...
ispiro's user avatar
  • 657
45 votes
7 answers

When do users understand that a wizard navigation bar is clickable?

In my web application, I use a wizard navigation bar like the one in the image: While getting feedback from a fellow designer, he asked me if the progress bar is clickable. In my mind, most wizard ...
Dimitra Miha's user avatar
  • 3,719
45 votes
7 answers

How can I improve this large grid of checkboxes?

I'm doing a usability pass on a scheduling application. Users specify when they are available to work (by hour and day), and then a supervisor needs to select which of those users are assigned to ...
Resorath's user avatar
  • 593
45 votes
7 answers

Why is tree representation of data becoming unpopular?

I'm asking not about professional software like IDE's, but about OS GUI and web interfaces. A few years ago there was File manager in Windows, Gopher and other interfaces and data models like this. ...
user avatar
45 votes
6 answers

What is a Modal Dialog Window?

What exactly is a modal dialog window and when should you use it? Are there certain cases where you should refrain from using one?
Matt Rockwell's user avatar
44 votes
3 answers

What's the point of deactivating Num Lock on login screens? [closed]

Many login screens automatically deactivate the Num Lock key on the keyboard before the user can enter their password. This is extremely frustrating for the user as they involuntarily type their ...
Klangen's user avatar
  • 541
44 votes
2 answers

Why don't ATMs show blank arrows for unused buttons? [closed]

Have you ever had trouble lining the arrows up with the correct button on ATM consoles and other similar interfaces? Height of user can affect perceived alignment, as well as poor installation or ...
juanitogan's user avatar
43 votes
7 answers

Would intentionally slowing down UI help to increase sales on shopping sites?

I've noticed that iTunes store is always slow, at first I thought it's just because iTunes is a bloatware (which it is, on both Mac and Windows.) However I started to wonder whether this is ...
ytk's user avatar
  • 758
42 votes
10 answers

Do some technical documentation websites purposely have very plain design?

I notice some widely read/important websites, all technical documentation pages in my examples, have some really old, dull and seemingly poor design. Is this on purpose? Is it based on UX ...
Dan.'s user avatar
  • 547
42 votes
9 answers

Dealing with long-title buttons

I have buttons for very specific actions. That ends up with button labels like "Send/Receive all data from sources" or "Create predefined calculated channels". Each button has also an icon that goes ...
ArkDeus's user avatar
  • 860
42 votes
14 answers

Should I force the user to enter an email before actually using a paid app?

I am working on an iPad app. It's in the medical field and the app will be sold for $99, which is kind of expensive! The client and the developer want to force the user to give his/her email address ...
XVRT's user avatar
  • 361
41 votes
12 answers

User-friendly name for Boolean options?

I'm creating an interface, meant to be used by non-technical business people, which needs to be able to define simple structures to hold some user data. I want to be able to support Boolean fields, ...
Steve Jones's user avatar
  • 2,321
40 votes
8 answers

Hamburger menu icons - should they be on the left or right?

Hamburger menus (the three small horizontal bars: the new menu icon). Should they be on the right or left? I'm only thinking of mobile and tablet applications. The pattern I see the most is on the ...
John Assymptoth's user avatar

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