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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251
votes
24answers
30k views

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. ...
184
votes
13answers
13k views

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 ...
125
votes
5answers
8k views

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 ...
122
votes
10answers
7k views

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 ...
113
votes
15answers
44k views

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 ...
103
votes
13answers
26k views

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 ...
102
votes
6answers
21k views

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.
99
votes
6answers
14k views

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 ...
96
votes
2answers
30k views

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 ...
89
votes
13answers
18k views

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 ...
88
votes
13answers
19k views

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]
86
votes
9answers
13k views

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 ...
84
votes
4answers
21k views

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 ...
81
votes
13answers
17k views

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 ...
81
votes
10answers
24k views

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 ...
75
votes
11answers
22k views

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? ...
71
votes
6answers
20k views

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 ...
70
votes
7answers
12k views

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?
69
votes
8answers
24k views

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?
69
votes
10answers
11k views

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 ...
65
votes
11answers
7k views

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 ...
64
votes
9answers
35k views

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?
63
votes
3answers
22k views

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). ...
59
votes
5answers
48k views

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 ...
58
votes
13answers
2k views

Personal information in messages

Is it good to add some personal information (name, username or other) in success or error messages?
55
votes
9answers
19k views

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-...
54
votes
9answers
3k views

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 ...
53
votes
15answers
20k views

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 ...
51
votes
9answers
6k views

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 ...
50
votes
7answers
7k views

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,...
49
votes
10answers
15k views

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 ...
48
votes
10answers
6k views

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 ...
48
votes
11answers
14k views

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/"...
47
votes
10answers
5k views

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 ...
47
votes
4answers
27k views

Character limits on 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, ...
45
votes
7answers
11k views

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 ...
45
votes
13answers
4k views

Can ugly be good UX?

It's heresy I know, but look at DrudgeReport.com. 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 ...
44
votes
7answers
3k views

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 ...
44
votes
3answers
8k views

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 ...
44
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
43
votes
6answers
5k views

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. ...
43
votes
7answers
3k views

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 ...
42
votes
14answers
3k views

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 ...
41
votes
12answers
9k views

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, ...
38
votes
10answers
8k views

Is there a more effective way to convince users to sign up with their social media accounts?

The current design for a sign-up page of mine is split into 2 sections - Sign up using your social media account on the left and a sign-up form with 5 inputs on the right. We ran a quick user test and ...
38
votes
9answers
9k views

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 ...
38
votes
8answers
45k views

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 ...
38
votes
6answers
7k views

Carousel with Down Arrow: Does it have a purpose? What's it called?

I've noticed that many websites that have sliders / carousels as a full height background have this "down arrow icon" centered in the middle. Sometimes you can click it. Does this arrow have a name? ...
37
votes
11answers
7k views

Good reasons to use bad UI

When should we make a conscious decision to retain poor UI, even if temporarily? Not because of budget or time constraints but because of what I call the QWERTY paradox. In short, the QWERTY paradox ...
36
votes
11answers
12k views

Door handle on automatic doors - why?

I was traveling by train, and I came across the board toilet in the picture below: Unlike other board toilets I encountered so far, this one had an automatic door. At least this is what I suspected ...