• Jiaxin L

Where to click?


Do you know where to click if you want to open the discussion board?

Bad experience:

You may already knew the answer, but for me, I spent a hard time on learning the mistakes of clicking the “All Section” - the blue subtitle, which I thought it would open the discussion question for me. The interesting thing is, I witnessed one of my professors suffered the same process as I did. It may not be my fault and I believe there might be something wrong with the design. The another day, I accidentally realized that when the mouse hover above the “Questions?” - the black title, it became an index finger. Clicking on this title is the only way to enter the discussion board.


It’s very simple, isn’t it? But why would I get confused in the first place? I started to figure out the reasons. (1) The only thing I noticed in the first place, was the blue printed “All Sections”. When you hover above it, it was underlined, the arrow changed to the index finger, and also showed the number of participants involved in the discussion. (2) This subtitle seems like clickable since it’s very similar to a hyperlink.(3) Normally, after the first click, users should have realized that could not be the correct way to enter discussion, because there was nothing showing up but only demonstrating the number of participants in a dialogue box. I bet not many users know what this “All Section” or “1 Section” mean at the beginning. I don’t even know what they mean up to now. (4) Obviously, I had my own mental model preinstalled believing things in blue and underlined should be clicked on. Or saying, I didn’t even think about it when I was clicking on it. (5) Even though the pointer changed into a index finger when you hover the main title, but it is still hard to notice.


Adding an underline to the main title of the discussion board as long as the mouse hover it.Removing the blue and underline of the subtitle, and change it to black, since color blue grabs too much attention from the main title.


According to Norman (Norman, 2008, Signifiers, not affordances), he suggested designer should direct and help user orientate complexity of configurations so that user is able to make right decision in all contexts. A lot of design today doesn’t catch users attention to achieve the main purpose of certain functionality, such as telling them what to click on. Online users don’t always think about what they are doing when they are using a mobile app or browsing a website as only if they see the cues and take actions. I believe a good design should give enough hints to users, showing them what to do without thinking.


Norman. Don, (2008) The Way I see it: Signifiers, not affordances


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