Thinking about the ‘Add Minute’ button

03Sep08

While they certainly aren’t perfect from a usability standpoint, there are some interface elements that I really admire in household appliances. One of these is the “Add Minute” or “+30 Seconds” button that you find on most microwaves. The concept is so simple: if you’re warming something up and you realize it needs more time, just press the button to add the corresponding amount. You don’t need to wait for the existing process to finish and then start over again.

This makes me wonder: why doesn’t software provide a similar capability? Say that you have a meeting scheduled and need to move it back an hour, or a day, or a week. Why doesn’t the scheduling software have a button for “Move back 1 hour” or “Reschedule for 1 week later”? It seems like a needless hassle to open the event, click Edit, choose the new time and date by typing it in or using the calendar, and then click Save. The process could obviously be a lot more elegant.

Would customers use this feature? I certainly think so. Perhaps a few scheduling programs already offer it. I can see applications for other types of software too. So, if your users tend to edit certain attributes of existing items on a regular basis, perhaps it’s worth thinking about how you can include some “Add minute” buttons of your own.



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