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User Experience Toolkit

Error Prevention

Prevent Accidental Destructive Actions

Destructive and irrecoverable actions should be guarded with a forcing function to ensure that a conscious choice is being made.

forcing function

Prevent Clutter

Monitor for accidental duplicate entries and guard against it.

Prevent Confusing Flow

The following dialog has an entire sentence explaining what the "OK" and "Cancel" buttons map to - and the mapping is also counter-intuitive - the user must click OK to cancel and cancel to continue. Labeling the default button with a clear "Save Document" would add clarity.

confusing prompt

Prevent Bad Input

Free-form input fields provide flexibility of entry, but also increase the likelihood of bad input. Immediate client-side validation can increase input quality (example: uStream sign up form). Using more constrained input controls can also be helpful when applicable - but ensure that the constrained choices cover all possible scenarios. The second example from Microsoft Health Common User Interface shows that sometimes there are edge cases to be considered - constraining too tightly can cause situations where there is not an acceptable choice. Consider the possibility of allowing users to enter an "other" choice to give flexibility - standard choices can be adjusted over time as the other entries are reviewed.

form validation gender drop down

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