UI Design Issues - Overview

By Gerd Waloszek

To overview of columns

On my column pages, I present stories and articles covering a number of user interface (UI) design topics. The stories on this page touch on various UI design issues. On another page, I discuss general thoughts about UI design. And on still another page, I deal with "stupid" users, that is, DAUs (DAU = dumbest assumable users). Usually, it's me.

I published these articles on an SAP-internal User Experience Website, but closed that section for a number of reasons in 2008. On this site, I republish my articles (a few have also been published on the SAP Design Guild Website) hoping that some visitors will find them useful and interesting. However, I removed all SAP specifics.

Please note that there is also an article contributed by my colleague Hendrik Achenback.

Long dropdown list

The Long, Long Dropdown List...

Most of us will probably have come across the phenomenon of very long dropdown lists (let's call them VLDDLs) – particularly on the Web they are common. Typically, VLDDLs appear in address data, for example, for specifying the country. Do we have to live with this "beast" or are there better solutions?

Computer rage

What Matters Most?

This article asks the question: What matters most for users? Or put in a slightly different way: What are, in your opinion, the three most annoying usability problems? Please, stop for a minute and reflect on this question. In this article, I will tell you what I regard as the three most annoying usability problems.

Pie menu

Succeeding the Tog Test...

Recently, colleague of mine took part in a tutorial held by Bruce Tognazzini. Among others, Tog presented Fitts' law and was eager to mention that he probes job applicants for this law. My colleague had not heard of Fitts' law before and was curious if she was alone with her "knowledge gap." Back to work, she probed her colleagues for Fitts' law in a team meeting. None of them had heard of the law either – even those with a background in psychology had not. Then she asked me. Yes, I had heard of the law but what I recalled was something different – reason enough to offer a short refresher of Fitts' law.

Pie menu

Impressing Tog Even More...

In the previous UI Design Issues column, I presented Fitts' law and mentioned that Bruce Tognazzini likes to query job applicants for it. In this column, I want to help you impress Tog even more – provided you did not fail the first test. I will present two other "classics": Hick's law and the power law of practice.

Others, Miscellaneous, and the Like...

Sometimes, I receive tough questions in my inbox:

  • "I am charged with finding research to support the contention that the selection choice 'other' should not be included in a dropdown menu. I support this contention, because it has been my experience that users will select that choice because they lack the time to make a more careful selection."

And I was only partly able to answer this question...

Emergency instructions

Hendrik Achenbach (Guest Author): Baby Hit Me One More Time

Going for a run in the lunch break is my favorite way of dealing with both the stress and the superfluous calories life imposes on me. The other day it was raining hard outside so I decided to try the running machine in the company gym again. As my eyes swept over the control panel (while running; putting it into motion with the QUICK START button was easy enough), I was instantly reminded of Gerd's column about everyday design problems. I am not a designer, but sometimes design problems are so obvious that even amateurs can spot them and identify potential for improvement.

Last Revision: 02/13/2009

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Gerd Waloszek
gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de


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