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184 votes
Accepted

Why do dialogs have grey backgrounds?

There is not really a "UX" reason for this—or if there is, it is a very limited one. The actual reason why dialog backgrounds are (by default) some shade of grey is because some designers thought that ...
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  • 1,216
126 votes

Is OK/NOK better than "fail/success"

If the output is binary (success/fail, OK/NOK, whatever), why not only show a status on the failure state? timestamp | action name | description timestamp | action name | ...
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106 votes

Best user friendly phone number format

Libraries exist to do this. For spacing, I feel very strongly that the spacing expected by the user is the spacing you should use. Most people remember phone numbers (especially their own) with a ...
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  • 1,358
51 votes
Accepted

Color choice for maximum legibility of text on glass

There is a better solution, at least in terms of legibility, perhaps not so much aesthetically. And I'm 99% sure you've already seen it. Black border, white letters. White letters are almost always ...
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  • 8,251
49 votes

Does the Oxford Comma increase readability?

Yes. The Oxford Comma increases readability. When items are logically separate, putting a delimiter between them makes their separation visually obvious. Without the delimiter, the separation can ...
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  • 764
49 votes
Accepted

Why are messages on the road printed in reverse?

You read as you approach. Theoretically. In reality, levels of visual acuity mean that some people (like you and I) can read the whole block at once. Another reason that painting information on the ...
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  • 21.1k
42 votes

Ways to improve readability of recipe ingredients?

First of all, if you are just looking at a text list of ingredients then I would say that it probably isn't going to matter too much which option you go for. Out of the 3 options I would personally ...
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  • 6,961
41 votes

"Realistic" Thermostat Interface vs Minimalist

For the first skeuomorphic example, until I read your description, I had no idea how I was supposed to change the set point. I happened to notice the little edit icon and was worried that was the only ...
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  • 19.2k
36 votes

Is OK/NOK better than "fail/success"

What you need to examine is the use-case for these terms within the context of the project logbook. I have to guess here but I'd say the logbook is a project management tool - an aid to charting ...
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35 votes

Why do dialogs have grey backgrounds?

Too much white can cause eye strain, so tints of grey reduce this. There is another ux.se topic which discusses white vs grey backgrounds: Grey versus white background for ease of use and ...
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  • 8,823
31 votes

Best user friendly phone number format

Use non-breaking spaces Other answers have talked about the pros and cons of spacing and where to place the spacing. I would like to mention one more issue. If your interface is ever going to be ...
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  • 416
31 votes
Accepted

What is the best number of paragraph width for readability?

According to studies, the line length should not exceed 70 characters. So keep your paragraph width between 50 and 70 characters. So actually you should not care about the width in pixels, but rather ...
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27 votes
Accepted

Does the Oxford Comma increase readability?

I think the top-voted answer is only partially correct... The Oxford comma can resolve ambiguity OR create ambiguity, depending on context. This is the reason that grammar experts and style guides ...
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25 votes

How long should a temporary notification (toast) appear?

It varies, but for English language... Generally the time taken to read a flash notice will vary according to the complexity of the information, length of notice, and focus/distraction level of the ...
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  • 40.3k
24 votes

How easy to read are small caps vs lower case?

Based on UX.Movement: Why Text in All Caps is Hard for Users to Read The reason of the worse readability of uppercase vs lowercase is the lower contrast of shape. Small caps still has worse ...
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24 votes

Readability of overlaid text on images

Readability is hard to get right Great question. It's always good to question the point at which style destroys function. Example scrim formats I've done quite a lot of user testing on scrim-based ...
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  • 40.3k
24 votes
Accepted

Is OK/NOK better than "fail/success"

It appears that the biggest problem is being able to find the status indicators within a large group of text. Barring some significant technical limitation, I would say your solution should be to ...
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  • 19.2k
24 votes
Accepted

When to use white text on top of a color for readability?

This is standardised by W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and decided based on the contrast ratio between colors, which you can calculate programmatically. In your case, you would want ...
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  • 8,062
23 votes

Why are messages on the road printed in reverse?

In complete agreement with the other answers, but to provide an alternate viewpoint: If you were driving at night, your headlights will reveal the beginning of the sentence before the end.
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21 votes

Should UTC timestamps, such as those in Stack Exchange hover-texts, include day of the week?

Timestamps aren't meant for most users Showing friendly names such as 2 hours ago or yesterday can quickly provide context to the user as opposed to showing them 2015-01-27 18:54:03.259 Mixing both ...
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  • 15.8k
18 votes

Is OK/NOK better than "fail/success"

Two things to think about: In computing, it's common to use failure instead of just fail, because it happens to be the same number of characters as 'success', so in mono-spaced fonts they end up ...
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  • 1,041
17 votes

Can text shadow enhance readability?

Apart from the answer given, I would like to mention one very important Use Case where the solution is nothing BUT shadows. Text on an image When you don't have control over the image on top of which ...
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17 votes
Accepted

How do cards improve readability?

Some of the benefits of Cards based UI include: Improved Scannability - Cards are neat little containers for information. They divide content into meaningful sections and thus the information is ...
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  • 1,181
16 votes

Why do dialogs have grey backgrounds?

Because the difference between the font-color and the background-color can cause eye strain and is not optimal. Having black or dark-grey text on a lighter grey background is the easiest for the ...
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  • 2,204
15 votes

Does the Oxford Comma increase readability?

I think the key is in how it sounds when read aloud. When people read a sentence they normally "hear" it as speech with their internal voice (theories on this originally based on Lev Vygotsky's work, ...
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  • 12.4k
15 votes

How to style table headers?

Headers are essentially metadata and you need some way to indicate that they are separate from your content, but related to it. I would recommend against lowercase and normal weight text as it will ...
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  • 8,850
15 votes
Accepted

How to style table headers?

1. Headers serve a different purpose from content This seems like an obvious statement, but it animates the reason why table headers are emphasized (title case, bold, colored, underlined, etc). While ...
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  • 40.3k
15 votes

How to display a large quantity of (read-only) fields?

Show all items on a single page in a vertical list This obviously has limits as it is almost never a good idea to display thousands of items at a time. Though putting a list of a hundred items on a ...
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  • 15.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Can text shadow enhance readability?

In some situations a drop shadow or stroke can be used to maximise accessibility and maintain the contrast ratio between text and the background. I have used this method once or twice when dealing ...
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  • 14.2k
13 votes

Hyphens or en dashes—which are more readable when used in number ranges (for North American web users)?

More readable in what context?. There lot's of evidence that readability depends on multiple variables. Keeping in mind this impact of external factors, then one hyphen may be more readable if the UI ...
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  • 5,279

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible