182

Besides the arguments others have listed (Aircraft requirements, power saving) we should not forget about security. Before the tablet and smartphone era you had a great control over your computer in an emergency: if you pulled the UTP cable, you could guarantee that the computer is isolated from the network. If you pulled the power cord, you could guarantee ...


169

Security A hardware radio switch has security benefits to it in that when it is off, you know for a fact that nothing is connected to your laptop wirelessly. The radio switch usually turns off all wireless communication, including Bluetooth and 3G. I have heard that this is a requirement in certain military environments, but I have not seen any evidence ...


108

You are totally right As with many other devices (eg the QWERTY keyboard) the hot/cold tap persists not because it's the most usable design, but because of: Cost since proper temperature control requires an electromechanical feedback loop design, or calibrated thermostatic valves which needs to be periodically adjusted or replaced. This drives up the cost ...


83

Excellent answers so far. I would attempt to connect the dots between recording and red button like this: Apart from the traditional warning usage, a red light has been used in many scenarios to represent on-going work - radio show room when on air, operation theater when operation is going on, etc. The reason behind that would be the same - it is highly ...


53

Airplanes These switches allow you to disable wireless transmitters without first turning them on in the middle of a flight, when their use may be prohibited. There seems to be some consternation regarding this answer. I have reworded it to address some of the concerns that have been voiced. In addition... I'm not saying that any rules regarding the use ...


38

In an actual plane, the steering column isn't really pulled up or down. Instead the pilot pushes the steering wheel or joystick away to dive, and pulls it towards him to pull up. Same goes for games which you control with a joystick. You push it away to go forward, and back to go backward. This forward and backward motion is most probably why inverted ...


36

The Microsoft Office suite appears to have put a greater emphasis on Add-Ins. For default installations, none are included hence the splash screen only stays up for a very short time. However, for Office power users, they may have many Add-Ins (especially enterprise users who develop their own custom AddIns) which will significantly slow the startup time ...


34

The symbol on each button was created with references to sheet music and inventor's background. For example, the || in pause may come from the Japanese character リ and/or Caesura. The media control UI were first introduced by Swedish Engineer Philip Olsson while he was working in Japan. He also had a degree from Swedish design school. The glyphs were ...


33

I suppose it's mostly a question of how much money you want to invest into your fittings. In most cases you'll have one pipe for hot and one for cold water. The knobs then just open and close those pipes – I can hardly think of any easier / cheaper solution. However there are actually different solutions that do exactly what you describe: Visiting Canada ...


25

Very few isometric games have a keyboard control scheme. The few I remember playing that used the arrow keys to move treated a single key as an orthogonal direction. To get diagonal movement you needed to press two keys like down and right. Some even mapped all 8 surrounding squares to the numbers on the keypad (except 5) so you had a full range of motion. (...


24

In Emergency Situations Sometimes you need to turn off your internet connection as fast as possible. For example, you download a software, then double click on it, and then you realize that it is not the genuine .exe file but it is a malicious file. In this situation, you may want to turn of your connection as fast as possible, and it may take a very long ...


22

The way that you have it now breaks the way that we expect numbers to work. 90 days is greater than 10 days, so the 90 days option is on the right. Never is the equivalent of infinity days, and so it should be the last option on the right. The far left option on the slider would correspond to never keeping them in the first place - assuming you want that ...


22

I like JohnGB's answer. It's less fiddly and more visible than the slider. For the sake of offering an alternative, if you do want to retain the slider, I would consider taking the 'never' option out. It doesn't really fit within the concept of a fixed range that the slider implies. In this version, you would only show the duration slider if "Delete ...


22

The interfaces may look very similar to you, but they are constantly evolving, and have been refined for many years. Firefox in particular is very open about their UX process, and how they rely on user telemetry to understand how people use their browser. They don't simply copy features. They try to understand their users. In the early days, browsers could ...


20

An isometric view of a game doesn't have to be presented as a symmetric view. For example PacMania is pacman with a pseudo-3D isometric view, but still lets you use the left-right, up-down keys without ambiguity in their direction.


19

Grey it out when you want the person to know that the control exists, but that it is disabled. Hide it (make it completely invisible) when it doesn't matter whether they know that it is there or not. In general I would opt to grey out controls rather than hide them, because someone could remember seeing a control somewhere that then not be able to find it ...


19

I can honestly say I have never seen a shower that has separate hot/cold knobs like you describe, and I've lived everywhere up and down both the east and west US coast. Every shower I've ever seen has two concentric wheels. The inner one controls temperature while the outer one controls pressure. Here's what they look like (although the labels around the ...


18

It depends an awful lot on how you expect the application to be used. If all your users are power-users (like Photoshop in @edgarator's answer) then you typically want to grey out rather than hide - you want your users to know that the feature is there, and they're going to be using your app for a while. However if your users are less technical or (more ...


17

If you use the slider, stick with it as the sole means of control. Extra controls add too much "tool time" in making the decision and may be confusing. The solution I propose is to simply reverse the fine concept you have. Make "Never" at the END of the slider and 1 as the lowest value on the slider. Set the slider to the default setting or a previously ...


17

A couple reasons that I use my Wi-Fi switch that other people haven't mentioned: When I'm in a LAN party, I want to force my computer to use the Ethernet cable networking me with other players to get the most out of my network and prevent some random app from interrupting play. I don't trust public networks, so when I'm not in a Wi-Fi zone I trust, I turn ...


17

The asymmetrical design of the analog sticks is based on ergonomics and the typical use case. The left stick is at the neutral position for your left thumb, while the buttons on the right are at the neutral position for your right thumb. The vast majority of the time, you will be using the left stick and right buttons, so it makes sense that they are ...


16

Wifi takes power. If you have limited battery life, being able to physically power-down the wifi card might buy you back a little power. Otherwise, the OS might continually poll the airwaves looking for a signal and draining the battery a little faster.


16

Here is a nice explanation from What Grinds My Gears: Flight simulators were one of the first three-dimensional PC games where the mouse could be used as a controller, to control the orientation of the camera (in other words, the airplane). The most natural mapping of the mouse axes to control the "aircraft" was, of course, to simulate the movement of the ...


15

The record button is round because of the triangle the square and the rectangles being already chosen for the play, rewind, forward, stop and pause buttons, and the need for an eye-catcher for security reasons, that is preventing critical information erasing. When is applied, the red color is applied for the same reason.


15

Working as a sound designer in the games industry the response I have get from most programmers regarding this is that they simply don't realise that linear volume scaling is wrong. Once shown the difference they are converts (I've seen this multiple times). It's an incredibly easy (one line) fix that will make your controls feel significantly nicer and ...


15

The top of panels is usually reserved for controls over the panel itself, not the content of the panel. For instance, in your example you have the Full Screen icon in the top-right, which at a glance is strikingly similar to the close 'X' icon that would dismiss the panel altogether. Also, out of context it's hard to tell whether it'd work. As a single ...


14

I think the concept of a locked slider that is not disabled is not something you need to put into practice, and you should just not show the slider in the first place. The clue to that is that you are asking Visually, what is the best way to show that a slider is locked? This is not your ultimate goal behind this - you have a bigger problem for which this ...


13

Keep the slider, but put the 'never' selection on the right, and notch it so it appears apart from the finite values, as per the mockup below (mind my terrible MS Paint skills): This way, you can use a single UI control with an obvious model of operation (move the slider right for longer intervals, and vice-versa), but you don't have any ambiguity around a ...


13

If the slider is locked then don't show the slider at all--only show the element if the user can interact with it. Instead, just show a progress bar with the value: download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups Since the value is not editable, then your requirement is to inform the user what the value of the object is. The ...


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