Ben Brocka
  • Member for 10 years, 4 months
  • Last seen more than 1 year ago
What explains the current shift from glossy UIs to matte UIs?
184 votes

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 ...

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Why is it impossible to deselect HTML "radio" inputs?
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143 votes

You're not supposed to leave radio buttons blank. They're allowed to be blank so you can avoid setting defaults as mentioned in the question about setting a default gender. You can't not pick a gender,...

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What is a "toast notification"?
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101 votes

A Toast is a non modal, unobtrusive window element used to display brief, auto-expiring windows of information to a user. Android OS makes relatively heavy use of them. Here's an example of a Google ...

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Removing placeholder text on focus
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97 votes

Interestingly the w3 Spec for placeholder allows for either behavior: User agents should present this hint to the user, after having stripped line breaks from it, when the element's value is the ...

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Which way should be "on" for a switch?
89 votes

The important thing is not so much which direction is right, but that you make it visually clear which direction is 'on'. This can be done by lighting up an LED, by an icon on the display, changing ...

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Should "Like us on Facebook" be a required field on a form?
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80 votes

They're leveraging Sunk Costs, a powerful psychological effect. Since you've filled out the standard parts of the form you're more inclined to click the Like button; bailing out late means abandoning ...

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What are the drawbacks of designing a Windows application to look like a Mac application?
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76 votes

You're introducing two big problems right off the bat; breaking conventions and clashing styles. Don't forget that Apple and Microsoft have released different interface guidelines for their respective ...

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Files size units: "KiB" vs "KB" vs "kB"
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75 votes

A number of issues factor into the perception of what a kilobyte is and how to word it. The IEC standard names are useless: As Jeff Atwood notes there is simply no industry acceptance of KiB/MiB/GiB....

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What is the exact difference between fluid and responsive design?
75 votes

The main difference is that Fluid Layouts (also called Liquid Layouts) are based on proportionally laying out your website so elements take up the same percent of space on different screen sizes, ...

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Why did Microsoft make Windows 8 hard to Power Off?
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74 votes

Take a step away from classic Windows processes. That was a huge part of Windows 8 and should help you understand this. Think about how you turn your phone on or off. There's a physical button that ...

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Don't hide or disable menu items?
Accepted answer
70 votes

He's making multiple points of varying validity in that post: Explain why an item is disabled: Great advice that almost no one follows! Google search "greyed out menu" and you'll find heaps of people ...

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How to tell visitors to activate JavaScript?
58 votes

If the user has intentionally disabled Javascript, it's probably because they explicitly want to avoid sites that "make heavy use of javascript" and would thus have a bad impression of such a ...

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What research is there suggesting modal dialogs are disruptive?
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52 votes

Generally speaking, disruptions and distractions negatively affect human performance, a common finding in cognitive psychology. Many studies have shown that distraction greatly increases task time on ...

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Why should we ask the password twice during registration?
44 votes

Like Roger says, ideally you can reset your password easily and securely, but there are certain times that's not an option. If you're not validating email addresses it's more important that their ...

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Why does Firefox remove the "close tab button" when you have more than n tabs open unless you focus on the tab?
Accepted answer
41 votes

Chrome does the same thing: There are two reasons for this: It makes it hard to click close on accident. This is easiest to note on the Chrome example, if every one of those super teeny tabs had an ...

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Is there ever a requirement to allow text to be underlined when it's not a link or a header
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38 votes

Underlining non-link text is a sort of usability crime. Underline is a standard way of visualizing links, especially when the default blue isn't use for links, so underline can confuse web users as to ...

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Is this hard to read?
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37 votes

First things first, this is what it looks like to color blind (deuteranopia; by the most common form of colorblindness) users: (also the zebrastripes are almost impossible to see, colorblind or not) ...

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How could one prevent drunk users from using a mobile application?
36 votes

How do we know when to test if the user drunk? An app that requires a test before you can use it at start up will be so frustrating you'll stop using it immediately, well intentioned or not. A ...

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How to explain to director that a multilevel dropdown menu isn't a good idea
32 votes

There's lots of research in Human Computer Interaction on this issue and the general concensus is that breadth beats depth (read: wide top level navigation beats nested submenus). This is the case ...

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What is the best practice for data table cell content alignment
Accepted answer
32 votes

Left align is basically the default for Left to Right languages just because all content will line up; this is a powerful tool for readability. Generally stick with left aligning unless there's good ...

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When should you start autocompleting a search in autocomplete search field?
30 votes

Generally typeahead/autocomplete is instant, and to avoid confusion I'd recommend sticking with the standard of autocompleting instantly after a single character. For no reason other than convention ...

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All capital titles: good or bad?
30 votes

I hate to be this guy, but The W Blog has an article digesting some research suggesting that the presumed "letter shape" theory is incorrect on why CAPS LOCK is harder to read. It's a good article ...

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Why are Inverted Colors considered an accessibility feature?
Accepted answer
29 votes

Research generally suggests light on dark is harder to read in most cases but considering we're talking accessibility, you should know that results for those with normal vision don't necessarily hold ...

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When form submission fails, password field gets blanked, why is that the case?
Accepted answer
28 votes

If the form was rejected by Server-Side validation, the password should be blanked out since it shouldn't be sent back to the client. This problem is easily solved with inline validation though, you ...

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Good reasons to use bad UI
Accepted answer
28 votes

Only when a change would be absolutely earth shattering. Changing the standard keyboard layout would mean hundreds of millions of people can't type any more. It's a change that affects the majority of ...

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Pop-under: Really that bad?
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28 votes

Pop-unders suck. The Internet has been awash with hate for them since their inception. But you know that, you need data. Research has shown that pop-under ads are almost indistinguishable from pop-up ...

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Improving the UX of Clippy
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28 votes

Siri seems to be the spiritual but not functional successor to Clippy. A major difference is that people request Siri's help whereas Clippy imposed help upon you. Another interesting thing is that ...

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Where should the GUI light source come from?
25 votes

The standard is that the light source is at the top of an item, as this is where light sources are usually located in real life (the Sun, ceiling lighting). Items lit from below or on top appear ...

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Why did scrolling vertically became a pattern?
24 votes

Horizontal scrolling is terrible. Users almost always complain about it, and it's particularly a problem when paired with vertical scrolling; there's nothing worse than trying to scroll a site on ...

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Has user testing found that the "three horizontal bars" for main menu on mobile is commonly understood?
Accepted answer
23 votes

James Foster of Exis Web did an interesting A/B test on the hamburger icon: Tests on mobile showed a difference, though not all that significant, when the icon was used with a border (so it looks like ...

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