6528RE: [agile-usability] Designing toggle icon [1 Attachment]
- Oct 30, 2009
Indeed, this is a generic problem for which there is no single best solution. It depends. But my own research shows that people who interpret the label on a toggle button to mean the command to be executed (rather than the current state) are in the majority. However, labels on function buttons that change are problematic in any case. (Although, I have used them on rare and carefully reasoned occasion.)
Here are the options that my work suggests work best, on average (your mileage may vary):
(a) have a button with an unchanging label (the on-state) that appears depressed (or on) when selected
(b) have two buttons (watches on, watches off) linked visually and in behavior
(c) use a check box (e.g., [ ] Watches on)
On a Wiki, I would favor the latter as more in keeping with the Web-based interface; and it’s simpler.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Desilets, Alain
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 12:20 PM
Subject: [agile-usability] Designing toggle icon [1 Attachment]
I know this is a general UI design issue, but I am asking here because I know many of you folks personally to be a friendly and helpful bunch. But please feel free to tell me to post this somewhere else (and if so, what list you recommend).
I need to design a clickable icon for use on a wiki system, which will toggle watches on and off. When watches are on, the user receives email notification of every change made to a page. If watches are off, he doesn’t.
The problem I am having is that no matter what icon I come up with, some people interpret it as representing the STATE of the watches, and some people interpret it as the ACTION that will be done on the state of the watches when they click on it. Unfortunately, these two interpretations tend to contradict each other. For example, an eye with a green checkmark can be interpreted as:
- Traces are ON (and therefore, click here to turn them OFF)
- Click here to turn traces ON (and therefore, they are currently OFF)
Which are exact opposite of each other. I have tested the list of icons in the attached MS Word file with a dozen people or so, and I find this contradiction applies with all of them.
This seems to be a common problem, for example, see:
yet, I haven’t been able to find a definitive, well accepted design pattern for that.
Does any of you know of one?
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