Skip the modifiers

30Apr08

While making some configuration changes in Salesforce.com, I ran into a truly puzzling set of buttons. At the bottom of the page I was editing, I saw the usual buttons for “Save” and “Cancel” — plus another button for “Quick Save”. I don’t have a clue how you can save something faster than normal, and I didn’t check the documentation to see what this is supposed to do. To me, having the extra option is confusing, since users have no frame of reference for what a “quick” save refers to.

More generally, the “Quick Save” button is an example of placing useless modifiers on an otherwise straightforward action. To show what a bad idea this is, here are a few more examples:

– Instant Delete
– Fast Insert
– Power Search
– Smart Clone
– Quick Preview

I think the takeaway here is obvious: don’t cloud the meaning of your buttons and other design elements by including superfluous words before or after the text. If the modified term is so ambiguous that users can’t choose between the regular and the modified version, you should probably remove the extra choice or rephrase it to avoid any confusion.



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