Issue: 15.1 (January/February 2017)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 9,400
Starting Page Number: 65
Article Number: 15107
Related Link(s): None
Excerpt of article text...
There is one user interface problem I see consistently that has become my new pet peeve. I see it in all sorts of interfaces: computer programs, digital cameras, TV interfaces, and more. It drives me nuts. It's actually more of a problem with
operating systemsrather than specific applications, but it's such a simple lesson that we can all learn from the situation.
Take a look at the modal dialog in Figure 1 and tell me: what happens when the user accepts the default situation (i.e. presses the OK/select/return button)?
You might think, oh, the yellow button is highlighted, so it's the default. But is it? I've seen some systems where all buttons are colored and the
non-coloredbutton is the selected one. The main point is that there's no way to tell from the display alone.
You can toggle the setting to see which button highlights, but sometimes that doesn't help. For instance, if you don't know which button was highlighted to begin with (the default), pressing arrow keys to choose the other button doesn't tell you which one is currently being highlighted. (If there are
threechoices, you can tell, but not with just two since the highlighting just toggles.)
In some interfaces (like Figure 2), the highlight color changes between selections making it even more confusing. (I suppose the red highlight is supposed to be a warning of sorts, but it's actually harder to see than the yellow, and who knows how it appears to a color blind person.)
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