It's a shame no one has mentioned the impact of the Mac OS X "Aqua" interface on all this.
Aqua was the name Apple gave to the user interface style it introduced in Mac OS X. It changed the Mac's software from looking like this:
…to looking like this:
Here's Steve Jobs introducing it for the first time at MacWorld San Francisco 2000. As he says:
One of ...
It's a big part of Skeuomorphism vs flat design, a debate about which Sacha Greif has a good writeup. Skeuomorphism like gloss, reflections and textures make things look like “real” objects, but all the fancy can increase cognitive load, and gives an unfortunate “samey” feel. The majority of iOS icons have the same or similar gloss effect on their icons, ...
No. It is not always appropriate to minimize cognitive load.
Minimizing cognitive load is not the goal of usability, human factors, UX, or the user centered design process in general. It is about "good design", and good design is not always the simple design.
To clarify the rationale, let's make sure we have a definition for "cognitive load".
When a user is about to take an action that may not be easily reversible, it is imperative that the interface give them enough information to:
Make the correct decision on what they want to do.
Make it very clear how to make that happen.
In Windows 7 the "Copy File" dialog gives you plenty of information to help you compare the two files using meta data ...
While Charles's Answer shows some great UIs, I wanted to add the UX that Directory Opus uses for the same action, which I find very good as well. Simple on the surface with advanced options tucked away after a click.
Clicking on the Dropdowns results in these options:
As you can see it also provides shortcuts for the advanced operations making it easy ...
Reducing UX friction/cognitive load is only helpful if it accomplishes some design goal. Usually, low-friction UX is desirable because it can help users accompish tasks faster, with greater efficiency/productivity, etc.
However, sometimes designers introduce deliberate cognitive load for legitimate reasons.
Here are some examples of deliberate ...
This largely a question of design trends, but there are some UX aspects to it.
Glossy icons and buttons were (arguably) mostly used to show affordance. It was also then used almost religiously in all Apple designs. Even today, most iOS icons are glossy by default.
People don't neet to be shown some gloss or gradient to know that they can interact with ...
Abbreviations or Flags only = worst comprehension
Using abbreviations only could cause uncertainties because users might not know the abbreviation for the particular country and leave them guessing. The same goes for flags only.
Abbreviations + Flags = better comprehension
You might get a bit better comprehension when you use flags + abbreviations because ...
There are already some good answers in this thread. As mentioned, it depends on the system and the context of use.
That being said, I would like to take another viewpoint and highlight a case where users preferred cognitive load over a simplistic design.
The Bloomberg Terminal
The Bloomberg terminal looks like this and people say it's hideous.
You shouldn't enforce the characters in passwords. Instead you should encourage passphrases which although longer are more secure and easier to remember.
Instead of trying to explain this, I will let XKCD do it for me:
Every constraint you add to a password pattern, the more cognitive load you add to a user. And constrains can be good to make a password secure. But how secure is a password that user constantly forget and as a consequence hit the “forgot password” workflow yet again. Further you minimize the option for users to use there already memorized secure password on ...
I'm the author of WinSCP and I've found this "question" really inspiring. Thanks. This is my (kind of) "answer".
Improvements I've done (see also the screenshot below):
Inspired by the @Vijay's answer (and Directory Opus), I have merged similar buttons into one with a drop down menu. So now there are only 4 buttons, Yes (with Newer Only and Yes to All in ...
Keep in mind that the full country names are language dependant, while the flags and ISO codes are not.
I’m not sure displaying all country names in english would be preferable to using language-independant signs and codes.
Within a task-completion context:
Yes it should
I'm sorry to be an outlier, but I think a proper answer to this should be a bit more comprehensive.
As a cognitive-scientist-turned-uxer friend on mine who read this question asserted:
If you need to make things harder for the user, you need to make it harder.
But a no answer is dangerous.
That is one of the best examples of an interface designed by engineers for engineers :)
I would suggest the following improvements:
Some of the options should be moved to an advanced section, which is selectable for people that know that they want advanced features.
Related options could be grouped together to make it easier to scan.
The buttons should not ...
It's a psychological trick.
Reflections were Apple's enormously influential way of communicating:
Flat (popularized but not created by Google) is a way of saying "we've moved beyond all the bling." It communicates:
It's nothing new (look to the international style design of the 50s and 60s) ...
Depending on whether the information is relevant or merely informative, I would always display the flags (the graphical information has more impact) and, if relevant, the two letters of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code.
Additionally I would show the full name of the country in a tooltip (in the language selected by the user).
There are numerous sources for country ...
One accepted way to measure the cognitive load would be to apply Hick's law which
describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically
Might be a bit of a tangent, but this trend reminds me of the BBC announcing their new "digital" logo back in 1997.
The big reasons they gave at the time were that the move from glossy to a simpler matt logo allowed the logo to work better at multiple resolutions and on multiple devices. It also compressed better which was a big deal with their website in ...
UX Horror: Making users think
Here some reasons why it's bad:
Color is not helping:
It's very hard to tell just by looking at the Contacts chart if blue/green portion matches the number, there isn't any clear sign to indicate this.
I think that colors don't make a big difference in this kind of chart where they don't have a direct relationship with the ...
I think FileZilla does a good job of this. And they give you options to never ask again when overwriting - either in the current queue of transfers ('apply to current queue only'), or for the entire FTP session (just 'always use this action' selected).
If they were to add any more options though, I reckon a drop down list would be in order for the 'action' ...
I did a super-informal hallway study about a week ago. So, obviously not something to cite, but may give you some ideas for your own study.
I asked 10 people if they found the 'remember me' feature useful in the context of a secure mobile app (context is likely key here).
7 out of 10 said they rarely use it namely because they forget to check it before ...
Like you say password pattern enforcement is basically a good way to make sure that the user is going to invent a password that is optimised to be forgotten. This is especially true of rules that are quite complicated (one I recently came across demanded that the password have at least one capital letter, one digit, one special character, be at least 8 ...
It's an age old balance between form and function. UX is trying to balance the two. You want something which is visually pleasing and "looks good" but also want something that conveys information quickly and efficiently and is easy to use.
The Photoshop icon is really the best example. Sure the Feather looks cool, but what does that tell someone about ...
About this topic I'd suggest you read "Designing with the mind in mind" by Jeff Johnson.
It's a must-have book and Johnson dedicates chapter 7 to how memory works.
In particular, he distinguishes between:
Working memory (a.k.a. short-term memory) - "which covers situations in which information is retained for intervals ranging from a fraction of a second ...
Read this article sometime back about Japanese web design and how the Japanese culture influences it, resulting in very cluttered design. but turns out to be a good thing in their case
Here is a sample case study. An overseas web service was getting ready
to enter the Japanese market and ...
Yes, switching to three-letter abbreviations makes sense, because flags are not unique.
Technically, there's a minor hue difference between the Dutch and Luxembourg flag, but your average device isn't color-calibrated. Besides, your typical user won't know which hue belongs to which country. As both are EU members and geographically close, there's a real ...
I would go ahead and assume this donut chart wouldn't be the only one displayed, but will be part of a row(s) full of charts and visual graphs.
In this case, I would absolutely organize the text in a readable data structure - Label top, Data bottom.
When visualizing data as such, it is better practice to first give them the key for the data(which normally ...
I can only speak from my own observations. People buy tablets and use them on the go. Internet on the go costs extra money depending on country and provider. Heavy websites load slower. Good designers think about how to keep performance and loading times low and conclude to move away from heavy bling bling buttons.
Besides, Skeumorph designs have reached a ...
For browser based UIs it's marginally more efficient and much more cross-browser compliant to build these 'flat' designs i.e. no drop shadows, bevels, gradients, rounded corners etc etc
This doesn't make a a great deal of difference on a desktop / broadband / modern browser but on mobile devices where connections are slower, screens are smaller and browser ...