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User Experience Toolkit

Consistency Standards

Consistent Layout

There are multiple different options for how items can be laid out. Consider the below example of button layout within a dialog. The application will be easier to learn if the layout of the buttons remains consistent within the application (and also with general layout conventions). Example "B" is actually the layout that is consistent with Windows User Interface Guidelines.

different button layouts

Consistent Names

Consistency in use of language is important. Consider the below page from Verizon customer support. Assume a user needs to get assistance with their usb cellular modem. The categories are not too helpful - most likely they were generated from an organizational chart rather than the user's conceptual model of what they care about. They may not know how to choose, even though it is apparent to those who created the application. Standardize on terminology with which the users are familiar. User research and usability testing can be helpful in determining proper language.

confusing Verizon choices

Consistent Choices

Consider the below license repair utility for Adobe Acrobat. There is a warning to close all Adobe products before proceeding - which is a reasonable constraint. Then the question "Do you wish to c…"

command line utility prompt

You might think it would be asking "Do you wish to continue?", but it actually is asking if you would like to close the application. Using a positive answer of "Yes" on a negative action such as closing can confuse users.

command line utility prompt

A better approach is to provide clearer choices. The following dialog simplifies a similar choice by including using the action-verb/noun naming pattern on the buttons themselves. Replace "Yes" and "No" with options that require less thinking and do not risk misinterpretation.

clear choice buttons

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