Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bleedingly Obvious Usability Tip Of The Day

Situation. English text is written left to right, down the page. Making lists is done in a similar fashion. In PHP, at least (and to a lesser extent other languages), it's very easy for the programmer to push elements onto the end of an array.

Here's why that annoys me to no end. The fold. The fold is the point at which you have to scroll to access. It's something that comes from newspapers, thus the term fold - people read the top of newspapers more than the bottom.
If you add new items to an existing list, they should never be displayed at the end of the list.
Infact, the main purpose of a list adding interface is to add things, so if your adding widget isn't at the top of the screen, I'm going to shoot you.
By appending things to the bottom of a list, if there is an error the following happens:
  1. A user has to scroll
  2. A user has to visually locate the artifact
  3. A user has to then find the editing widget

Why aren't things put at the top of a list, nearest the adding widget? Ideally:
  1. A user has to locate the artifact, which will be located directly below their focus.
  2. A user edits.

Lazyness. It's called array_reverse(). Use it!
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