Friday, May 04, 2007

Hidden Functionality — Hints And Affordance

Hiding functionality for simplicity ...

"Many of today have extremely advanced features and functionality. But the trend towards simpler, slicker user interfaces points towards hiding some of the functionality. Hiding functionality is — in my point of view — a very good thing for usability.

A usable website (or application) is:

• easy to use
• easy to learn
• hard to make errors in

Jakob Nielsen wrote about how hiding functionality is actually good for usability. The principle is called progressive disclosure, and presumes that you hide stuff that you don’t use often, which makes it easier to find stuff that you use all the time.

Another interesting term is affordance which means “an aspect of an object which makes it obvious how the object is to be used” (definition from the HCI dictionary).

So making functionality scream to the user is one thing. The most frequently used functions on the website must be the easiest to find.

Let’s see some real life examples of how affordances are shown for functionality that is hidden or less discoverable.

Here, functions to reply, forward, delete, print and more are put in a dropdown (actually an element designed to look like a dropdown)."    (Continued via justaddwater)    [Usability Resources]

Hidden Functionality - Usability, User Interface Design

Hidden Functionality

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