Next & previous button order

15 Sep 2008 - 9:40am
5 years ago
76 replies
9789 reads
tamlyn
2008

As discussed by LukeW in Web Form Design, it's best to have the primary
action of a form be the first button that the user sees. For left-to-right
languages this means having the primary action on the left and any secondary
actions on the right (see A in this illustration
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/2366430953/ ). In a multi-page
'wizard' style form, the primary action is usually 'next' or 'continue' and
the secondary action is 'back' or 'previous' but at the same time the
conceptual model for such forms is that the screens are arranged
progressively from left to right (the ipod/iphone interfaces even animate
the transition).

In such situations is it better to have the secondary action, 'back', to the
left or the right of the primary action, 'next'? Or is there a better
solution?

Cheers,

Tamlyn.

Comments

19 Sep 2008 - 1:58pm
Santiago Bustelo
2010

Bryan: going to mockups was such a brilliant move!
Talking and talking and talking about design, art, or any craft,
should be left to critics - i.e., failed designers / artists /
craftsmen.

My suggestion:
http://icograma.com/qd/next-prev-100026.gif

--

Santiago Bustelo // icograma
Buenos Aires, Argentina

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945

19 Sep 2008 - 6:28pm
Santiago Bustelo
2010

Hi Brett! Really loved your layout. Also proof that pictures are worth
a thousand words.

Certainly I won't call anyone on this thread a failed designer, either.
AFAIK we are all fellow designers, no critics are lurking ... right?

--

Santiago Bustelo // icograma
Buenos Aires, Argentina

On 19/09/2008, at 18:42, Brett Lutchman wrote:

> Guys I really hope your getting this because I have already tried to
> send it out twice. I'm sending this out again.
>
> Hi guys, just getting back to this now, my messages have been
> captured by the Moderator and I'm only learning this style of
> communication now. Sorry for that.
> Nice diagrams Bryan. I can see why it's so important to view
> illustrations because the example that you illustrated was nothing
> like how I pictured it.
> I can totally understand the need to see it so everyone has an exact
> reference point.
> The example you give of the Next on the left was not what I had in
> mind at all. (especially when no arrow was not added to it and it's
> purposely bunched together with the other buttons to make it look
> confusing and there's absolutely no distinction between the buttons
> like there is when your example of the Next is on the right-side).
> The dimensions were way off from what I was picturing.
> I mocked up how I have always done mine and what I was picturing in
> my mind.
> I used your example Bryan to show the example I was talking about
> earlier in the week (I hope you don't mind).
> Here is what I have always been doing. Am I really wrong for doing
> this? I just don't see it.
> My users fly forward with the process and it has been reported that
> they were able to finish so fast that they had an extra 5 minutes
> for lunch.
>
> I don't think that I would call anyone on this thread who has only
> talked about this topic a failed designer.
>
> http://flickr.com/photos/30668660@N06/2871312900/sizes/o/
>

19 Sep 2008 - 10:29am
Eric Gauvin
2007

Wow. I'm late to the party, but I'm really happy to see this topic
being discussed because I've been losing faith in the "people read
from left to right" rule. If this problem were as simple as that
then we wouldn't have buttons floating all over the place.

I think it really depends on the layout, but my casual observation
tells me submit buttons work very well on the right.

There seem to be overwhelming examples of previous(left) next(right).
I can't see how or why to change that. The mental timeline puts the
past on the left and the future on the right.

I think it might be wrong to think of the submit button as the
"first choice" (because it's the primary action). It could be
thought of as the "final choice" (after all other page elements,
including "Cancel").

Seems like everywhere I look I see the primary button on the bottom
right (computer monitor, phone, calculator, enter key...)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945

19 Sep 2008 - 3:13pm
Anonymous

Hi guys, just getting back to this now, my messages have been captured by
the Moderator and I'm only learning this style of communication now. Sorry
for that.
Nice diagrams Bryan. I can see why it's so important to view illustrations
because the example that you illustrated was nothing like how I pictured it.
I can totally understand the need to see it so everyone has an exact
reference point.
The example you give of the Next on the left was not what I had in mind.
(especially when no arrow is added to it and it's purposely bunched together
with the other buttons and there's absolutely no distinction)
I mocked up how I have always done mine. I used your example Bryan to show
the example I was talking about earlier in the week (I hope you don't mind).
Here is what I have always been doing. Not trying to press the issue but
this is what I've been doing all along. Am I really wrong for doing this? I
just don't see it.
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19 Sep 2008 - 6:36pm
Anonymous

LOL Thanks Santiago you are a gentlemen as well as a good layout artist.

On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 7:28 PM, Santiago Bustelo
<santiago at bustelo.com.ar>wrote:

> Hi Brett! Really loved your layout. Also proof that pictures are worth a
> thousand words.
>
> Certainly I won't call anyone on this thread a failed designer, either.
> AFAIK we are all fellow designers, no critics are lurking ... right?
>
>
> --
>
> Santiago Bustelo // *icograma*
> Buenos Aires, Argentina
>
>
> On 19/09/2008, at 18:42, Brett Lutchman wrote:
>
> *Guys I really hope your getting this because I have already tried to send
> it out twice. I'm sending this out again.*
>
> Hi guys, just getting back to this now, my messages have been captured by
> the Moderator and I'm only learning this style of communication now. Sorry
> for that.
> Nice diagrams Bryan. I can see why it's so important to view illustrations
> because the example that you illustrated was nothing like how I pictured it.
>
> I can totally understand the need to see it so everyone has an exact
> reference point.
> The example you give of the Next on the left was not what I had in mind at
> all. (especially when no arrow was not added to it and it's purposely
> bunched together with the other buttons to make it look confusing and
> there's absolutely no distinction between the buttons like there is when
> your example of the Next is on the right-side).
> The dimensions were way off from what I was picturing.
> I mocked up how I have always done mine and what I was picturing in my
> mind.
> I used your example Bryan to show the example I was talking about earlier
> in the week (I hope you don't mind).
> Here is what I have always been doing. Am I really wrong for doing this? I
> just don't see it.
> My users fly forward with the process and it has been reported that they
> were able to finish so fast that they had an extra 5 minutes for lunch.
>
> I don't think that I would call anyone on this thread who has only talked
> about this topic a failed designer.
>
> http://flickr.com/photos/30668660@N06/2871312900/sizes/o/
>
>
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

21 Sep 2008 - 7:20am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

Brett Lutchman
> Here is what I have always been doing. Not trying to press the issue
> but this is what I've been doing all along. Am I really wrong for doing
> this? I just don't see it.

Hi Brett

Thanks for the example.

Now I can see why it works. Previously, I thought you were talking about a
'Previous' button given the same visual treatment and prominence as your
'Next' button.

Now I see that you have a 'Next' button placed just where I've found that it
works best, i.e. placed vertically below the left-hand end of the fields.

Then you have a small 'Previous' link that happens to be placed to the right
of the 'Next' button. Users won't see it unless their task has changed and
they go looking for it.

Personally, I'd suggest putting the 'Previous' link on the left of the page
but it's a minor point and I wouldn't stress over it.

Best
Caroline Jarrett

Effortmark Ltd
Usability - Forms - Content

Phone: 01525 370 379
Mobile: 0799 057 0647
International: +44 152 537 0379

16 Heath Road
Leighton Buzzard
Bedfordshire
LU7 3AB
UK

21 Sep 2008 - 9:01am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

From: Brett Lutchman [mailto:brettlutchman at gmail.com]

> Caroline, I will however try your recommendation with moving the Previous
to the left side because as you state, I have already captured the point
with the Next button being vertically on the top.
In my next opportunity to do this, I honestly will.

As you've discovered, there often isn't one absolute best practice. It's a
question of balancing:
(a) the advice you get
(b) - more important - the business goals you want to achieve
(c) - and in my view the most important - what you find out from real users
when they use it, both in real life and in usability tests.

>You have taught me something here. I made adjustments to best practices
because I wanted to be more effective. However, In my adjustments and effort
to being more effective, if I can simply reorder my process back to having
the Next on the right (based on proven studies), but yet keep my vertical
separation- how much more effective will I be by amalgamating best practices
and my innovations?

I wouldn't put Next on the right. I'd keep Next right where you have placed
it, vertically under the left-hand end of the fields.
But I do agree with you: it's always worth continuing to experiment with
different approaches, test them with some users, accept that sometimes the
various advice and/or one's brilliant idea doesn't actually work with your
users for whatever reason.

> Caroline if this works, when I take over the Internet I'm putting you 2nd
in Command.
Steady on! (blushes) It's just a form, it isn't a solution to famine or
anything :-)

Caroline
Caroline Jarrett

Effortmark Ltd
Usability - Forms - Content

Phone: 01525 370 379
Mobile: 0799 057 0647
International: +44 152 537 0379

16 Heath Road
Leighton Buzzard
Bedfordshire
LU7 3AB
UK

17 Sep 2008 - 8:45pm
Anonymous

Nick, I take that as a personal attack. You replied to me personally and I
did the same. If you do it publicly, I'll do the same. Part of being an
Expert is going against the North American-Mindset and setting Trends based
on Tests, Human Factors, Holistic Design, Best Practices and Personal
Conviction. I will never back down from anything based on my Findings and
Non-Biased Logical and Scientific Conclusions. I will ALWAYS have a reason
for the Logic of how I think and for what my Users are saying and implying
in my Studies.

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 9:31 PM, Nick Gassman <nick at netwiz.demon.co.uk>wrote:

> I sent this to Brett earlier rather than the list. He did reply to me,
> but I'll leave it to him whether he wants to forward it to the list.
>
> I'm getting really confused by what shows up on the list, what on the
> webpage, and wotnot. I sent this post earlier from the webpage, but it
> hasn't shown up yet.
>
> Brett, I'm surprised that in your previous post you would say
>
> 'But regardless of tests, for the reasons that I listed, the chances
> for disrupted usability and flow is much greater when the 'Previous'
> button is on the left..'
>
> I'm assuming that you are basing your recommendations on testing and
> research rather than personal opinion.
>
> brettlutchman at gmail.com wrote:
> > Having conducted multiple studies and tests on this very process, the
> 'Next'
> > button must be on the left side while the 'Previous' button needs to be
> on
> > the right.
> > There are several reasons as to why this is but I will focus on the 2
> main
> > ones.
> > 1. One thing I hate when entering serial numbers for a new software is
> when
> > I have to manually press the 'Tab' button rather then the cursor
> > automatically 'tabbing' to the right. Many developers who are sharp
> enough
> > to pick up on this have automated the process. This being said, some
> > developers have automated the process to 'tab' to the next button or
> field.
> > If the last field that precedes the 'Next' button is completed, the
> 'Next'
> > button is the most logical action and feature in regards to keeping a
> > consistent flow for the user to complete the task at hand. There is
> nothing
> > more aggravating then having a process flow being interrupted.
>
> I agree for that circumstance. There are a couple of considerations in
> reply.
>
> 1) Tab order doesn't have to follow visual order, as someone else
> pointed out. In html you can specify the tab order, which you would
> sometimes do differently for users with disabilities. I think a key
> point is that you are specifying a visual layout here to cater for
> people not using the visual cues.
>
> 2) Leading on from that, is everyone like you? The design you go for
> would differ for different audiences and purposes. If you are
> registering some software for developers, you might well find that
> most people tab. If you are installing a kindergarten programme, you
> might well find that most users don't tab, and are confused by the
> cursor jumping to the next field without them noticing. In years of
> observation of customers using ba.com, I do know that relatively few
> our customers tab.
>
> > 2. Users who are Net savvy tend to be quick with their left pinky finger
> > (for 'Tab') their right pinky finger (for 'Enter') followed by their
> right
> > then left thumb with both pointer fingers locked on the 'F' and 'J'
> buttons
> > for bearing.
> > These users who use the keyboard extensively rather then relying solely
> on
> > the mouse know how to rip through form fields using the 'Tab' and Space
> Bar.
> > If the cursor does not automatically tab to another field upon completing
> a
> > previous field, the user rapidly 'Tabs' with the left pinky finger and
> has
> > adapted to a learned behaviour. Upon reaching the first button in order
> > after completing all required fields, the user is still in 'Tab' and
> Space
> > Bar mode and will automatically Tab to the button and hammer the Space
> Bar
> > to proceed with the task.
> > Placing 'Previous' before the 'Next' or 'Submit' buttons breaks user flow
> > and I strongly recommend against it.
>
> Erm, is that a different point, or the same one? I would regard myself
> as relatively savvy, and do use the tab key, but don't know what
> you're using F and J for, and haven't noticed other people using them.
> Again, the point is to design for your audience, and there's a danger
> in too broad generalisations.
>
> There's another consideration also. On travel commerce websites, the
> primary purpose (both business-wise and for visitors) is to sell
> tickets. I think it's unlikely that even ardent tabbers would tab
> their way through an entire page of flight lists, options, information
> links etc. On such a page, the button to confirm your choice and
> progress to the next page is typically to the right, indicating
> progress. If that's what users of such sites experience the most, then
> it would be risky to change the order of buttons on less-used pages
> that submit forms. I think the appearance and positioning of actions
> buttons on a website is something that is important to have a degree
> of internal consistency.
>
> If you take tabbing out of the equation, we've found that the
> visibility/obviousness of the continue button (or any button) is
> probably more important than the exact positioning. Luke in his book
> advises against the use of red buttons due to potential confusion with
> error messaging, but I've never seen this happen in practice, and red
> stands out the most. I'd also caution against the use of red and green
> as contrasting colours, as red/green is the most common form of colour
> blindness (I'm red/green blind).
>
> It's an interesting discussion.
> * Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *
> * I vote for reply-to to go to the list*
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

17 Sep 2008 - 9:08pm
Anonymous

Then Keep 'Assuming'.

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 10:02 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:

>
> On Sep 17, 2008, at 9:31 PM, Nick Gassman wrote:
>
> I'm assuming that you are basing your recommendations on testing and
>> research rather than personal opinion.
>>
>
>
> And that would be a mistake. I really can't imagine valid tests showing the
> Prev button on the left being more usable.
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> President, Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

17 Sep 2008 - 9:14pm
Anonymous

Sorry Todd, but at this point, Google has got me sooooo confused that I
don't know how to respond or whom to respond to regarding this message. I am
not the first to express this and hopefully not the last.
I don't know if you are 'For' or 'Against' what I'm saying. Apologies in
advance.

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 10:08 PM, Brett Lutchman <brettlutchman at gmail.com>wrote:

> Then Keep 'Assuming'.
>
>
> On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 10:02 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:
>
>>
>> On Sep 17, 2008, at 9:31 PM, Nick Gassman wrote:
>>
>> I'm assuming that you are basing your recommendations on testing and
>>> research rather than personal opinion.
>>>
>>
>>
>> And that would be a mistake. I really can't imagine valid tests showing
>> the Prev button on the left being more usable.
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> Todd Zaki Warfel
>> President, Design Researcher
>> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
>> ----------------------------------
>> Contact Info
>> Voice: (215) 825-7423
>> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
>> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
>> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
>> Twitter: zakiwarfel
>> ----------------------------------
>> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
>> In practice, they are not.
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Brett Lutchman
> Web Slinger.
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

18 Sep 2008 - 8:12am
Anonymous

*Todd*, if any credit is lost it would have to be my users and I would never
put the blame on them.
Attacking someone's credit is a low-political blow when people don't want to
debate any more and are looking for a way to be right.
Many revolutionist appear to have low-credit because they believe in their
agenda.
I don't have to Google you, don't be insecure. I have many IA friends who
are experts and wont appear in Google.

*Jack *in many ways you are saying the same thing I am. You are right that
my solutions don't apply everywhere else. Like I said, I'm not making the
rule, my users do.
Again,
best practices mean nothing when your users are saying different.
I always make my designs with best practices in place, but I leave room for
change and innovation from User-testing results.
There are times when I actually do put 'Next' on the right, but it's not by
my own doing- it's based on feedback from tests.
And no your not ganging up on me, I love these conversations. At the end of
the day I'll forget about it look forward to a home-cooked dinner from my
awesome wife.
She always puts the fork on the right-side, but we all know that the fork
goes on the left.
Have a fantastic day gentlemen, feel free to respond, I'll be
waiting...Muhuhuhhahahahahahaa!

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 12:07 AM, Jack Leon Moffett <jackmoffett at mac.com>wrote:

>
> On Sep 17, 2008, at 7:41 PM, Brett Lutchman wrote:
>
> Ok everyone jump on the bandwagon we're leaving in 10 minutes.
>>
>
> Hey, I'm not trying to gang up on you, Brett. I was already sitting on the
> bus when you stepped on. I'm sorry if I offended, but it sounded as if you
> were brushing everyone off that was disagreeing by saying, "well, you're all
> designing websites, and that's different." I think the issue is pretty
> fundamental.
>
>
> Another 100 people could jump in the convo and say the same about the
>> Previous being on the left and Next on the right, it's not going to change
>> the my past usability tests and a decade of interaction design experience-
>> although I will always be a student of usability.
>>
>
> I wasn't trying to convince you that you're wrong. You know your users
> better than I do. But your test results and experience don't mean that your
> solution applies everywhere else.
>
>
> A common mistake that many amateur North American usability 'experts' make
>> is assuming everyone goes from left to right.
>>
>
> I think the majority of us probably are aware that the left to right, top
> to bottom flow only applies to cultures that read in that direction. The
> users of all of the applications I have designed thus far happen to fall
> into that bucket.
>
>
> Whether the Next link is an actual button and the Previous is a hyperlink,
>> it is commonly already understood that the user knows that some form of
>> moving forward is at the bottom. If they look bottom/right and see that it's
>> not there, Low and Behold, they simply look to the left and the Next button
>> smacks them right in the face...no harm done and the user simply moves on.
>>
>
> But isn't that a break in the flow as you're trying to avoid? For many of
> us, that would be the flow for the majority of our users.
>
>
> Especially when a form is Left Justified for readability, users will
>> naturally look to the left to proceed forward.
>>
>
> I must disagree. Perhaps your users do, but I cannot believe that this is
> in any way "natural" for "North American" users. There would have to be
> other elements at play to direct the user's attention.
>
> Speaking of top and bottom, I just happened to think of a UI I designed not
> long ago that placed the previous and next buttons above the content. Why?
> Because that was the place that made the most sense for them given the rest
> of the UI. Of course, in that particular case, they were not the primary
> means of navigation.
>
> There are many things that can influence the direction of attention. I
> would suggest that reading direction is a good starting place for deciding
> where to place previous and next buttons, but the designer must consider all
> of the influences to determine the best location.
>
> Best,
> Jack
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> Design is like California.
> No one is born there.
>
> -Dick Buchanan
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

18 Sep 2008 - 1:39pm
Anonymous

Idiosyncratic. (hee hee)

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 2:35 PM, Nick Gassman <nick at netwiz.demon.co.uk>wrote:

> On Wed, 17 Sep 2008 21:45:23 -0400, Brett wrote:
>
> >Nick, I take that as a personal attack. You replied to me personally and I
> did the same. If you do it publicly, I'll do the same.
> Part of being an Expert is going against the North American-Mindset
> and setting Trends based on Tests, Human Factors, Holistic Design,
> Best Practices and Personal Conviction. I will never back down from
> anything based on my Findings and Non-Biased Logical and Scientific
> Conclusions. I will ALWAYS have a reason for the Logic of how I think
> and for what my Users are saying and implying in my Studies.
>
> I can't imagine why. When I posted to you privately by mistake, I
> intended to post to the list. It wasn't a secret, and in that post I
> did point out that I found the posting confusing. Having discovered my
> mistake, I then sent the message to the list as I intended. What I
> didn't do was to forward on your reply to the list - as I said, that's
> up to you.
>
> So I sent you a message, then sent the same message to the list, and
> you take that as a personal attack?
>
> We're having a debate here. We don't all agree. If we did, there
> wouldn't be the same value. You're entitled to your opinion, and your
> idiosyncractic use of capitalisation, but you shouldn't take
> disagreement, debate, and mis-routed emails as personal attacks.
> * Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *
> * I vote for reply-to to go to the list*
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

21 Sep 2008 - 12:00am
Anonymous

There seem to be overwhelming examples of previous(left) next(right).
I can't see how or why to change that. The mental timeline puts the
past on the left and the future on the right.
Seems like everywhere I look I see the primary button on the bottom
right.

Hi Eric,
thank you for joining in the convo.
Based on the wording of your email, the same logic can be applied to having
menu buttons and links on the left side of web pages. There are overwhelming
examples of websites that do this and it seems like everywhere I look I see
that most websites have their menu buttons and links on the left side as
opposed to the right (where I believe it should be.) It doesn't make it
right because everyone is doing it or because 'studies' have said so (even
though studies do hold a lot of weight and I begin my designs with these
best practices and make changes after testing).

The purpose of my example was to illustrate the power of a left primary call
to action as opposed to positioning it on the right. I have shown beyond a
shadow of a doubt that my illustration is right smack-dab in the user's face
and can not be skipped, confused, denied or ignored (if we're being honest).

Let's face it, if we are all true artists, there are going to be times in
our craftsmenship that we are going to make slight changes and go against
the grain because of our experience in the industry and because we have
learned the formula and know how to break the 'rules' in order to make a
good design better.

I have learned this tactic and have instituted it time after time after time
again.

You have echoed what has already been shared here numerous times and I
believe that's why we had to go to illustration.

Most say right- I say left...can't we all just meet somewhere in the *Middle
*? (pardon the pun)

Who's *Next? >>*

*: )*

http://flickr.com/photos/30668660@N06/2871312900/sizes/o/

21 Sep 2008 - 8:45am
Anonymous

Thanks Caroline,
and just to recap, I'm not saying that I'm right. I'm just saying that based
on my tests, and personal experience, I have determined that my approach has
been the most effective for me personally.
I don't really want to offer the Previous as a choice to my users, even
though it is available.
I want my users to say "I want to take a step back or cancel but I can't do
it with out jumping over this huge Next call to action button on the left.
Who the hell put this thing here!"
(This is all part of my plan to take over and rule the Internet, and when I
do, everyone who agreed with me will be on staff.)
In all honesty, I may be playing dirty by the tactic I'm using- but it
pleases the clients.
One thing I've learned is that even though all the best practices and
studies appeal more to the end-users, I have learned to please the clients
more by bringing their missions up front to make them feel that I have
captured their intentions, and without compromising the integrity of
appealing to end users with proven best practices.
After all, best practices and studies are in place to make the end users
happy and as a result, making the client happy as well.
I just like to make the client happy first by making their processes very
easy to move forward, and a little uncomfortable for the end user to move
back.

Caroline, I will however try your recommendation with moving the Previous to
the left side because as you state, I have already captured the point with
the Next button being vertically on the top.
In my next opportunity to do this, I honestly will.
You have taught me something here. I made adjustments to best practices
because I wanted to be more effective. However, In my adjustments and effort
to being more effective, if I can simply reorder my process back to having
the Next on the right (based on proven studies), but yet keep my vertical
separation- how much more effective will I be by amalgamating best practices
and my innovations?

Caroline if this works, when I take over the Internet I'm putting you 2nd in
Command.

21 Sep 2008 - 9:06am
Anonymous

> Caroline if this works, when I take over the Internet I'm putting you 2nd
in Command.
Steady on! (blushes) It's just a form, it isn't a solution to famine or
anything :-)

Hey, I know the position doesn't pay good but the opportunity is still there
if you want it.
*: )*

22 Sep 2008 - 8:01am
bminihan
2007

Brett: Thanks for the reply, and no, I definitely don't mind your
using my sample for your mockup, and yes, I agree your layout is yet
another solution to the problem that works great in a lot of
situations. I could see using your layout in a form where Previous
is not a very likely scenario and the overwhelming direction of a
process flows from first to last.

I don't design many wizards (primarily due to the complexities
identified here), but the few I have designed were a lot more
free-flowing and haphazard than what your layout dictates. In one
such case, the "wizard" was just a series of preference pages that
could be completed in any particular order. We just provided the
Next and Previous buttons to give people a sense of linear direction,
so making them almost equally prevalent was important (to let people
know you don't HAVE to go forward and backward). Also, in that
process, you could land on any step in the process without having
started on the first page.

Perhaps my process wasn't a wizard after all =]. Just goes to show
how perspective makes a big difference in the approach to a design
problem, and that there is never one right answer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945

22 Sep 2008 - 8:08am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Sep 18, 2008, at 9:12 AM, Brett Lutchman wrote:

> *Todd*, if any credit is lost it would have to be my users and I
> would never put the blame on them.
> Attacking someone's credit is a low-political blow when people don't
> want to debate any more and are looking for a way to be right.
> Many revolutionist appear to have low-credit because they believe in
> their agenda.
> I don't have to Google you, don't be insecure. I have many IA
> friends who are experts and wont appear in Google.

Brett,

Perhaps you missed the point. When contradicting decades of research
and traction, if you want to be taken seriously and credible, you're
going to need to provide more evidence then "because I said so," or
"because of a test I ran." A real researcher will question the testing
and analysis of the results. It's in our nature.

Being a researcher, you learn quickly that the data doesn't lie, but
the interpreter of the data can make it say anything they want.

I don't know that I would equate the previous/next argument to
revolutionist theory, but...

My comment about credibility was targeted at your argument, not you
personally. Subtle, but important difference. One of the things that
might help you in the future is keep in mind that in a scientific-
based field, when presenting something that goes against the grain of
decades of research, you're going to need to do better than just
saying you tested it.

Tested it how? With how many people? What's the whole story? What's
the context?

If you think that the entire field should just accept what you say
without answering these questions, then you'll be disappointed.

As for the idea that I was attempting a low-political blow because I
don't want to debate the issue any more, well you couldn't be more
mistaken. Clearly you don't know me very well. I'm always up for a
good debate, for better or for worse. But I expect the person I'm
debating to come with evidence to support their claim, which is what I
was asking you to provide.

PS. As for the googling me comment, it has nothing to do with
insecurity. It's not some deep psychological game. To quote Freud
"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Rather than take up public space
with my background and experience, I was simply letting you know if
you wanted to know more about me it wouldn't be too hard to find.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

22 Sep 2008 - 8:16am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Sep 21, 2008, at 1:00 AM, Brett Lutchman wrote:

> Most say right- I say left...can't we all just meet somewhere in the
> *Middle *? (pardon the pun)
>
> http://flickr.com/photos/30668660@N06/2871312900/sizes/o/

Providing this illustration from the beginning would have saved a lot
of wasted time on this argument. The illustration you've provided
actually isn't what most of us have interpreted as "Next on the left,
Previous on the right."

When looking at the graphic, what's actually there is The main call to
action isolated, then a visual split in the design represented by a
horizontal line, then another visual space with the remaining actions
at the right.

What you described:
Next | Previous

What the illustration shows:
NEXT
-----------------------------------------------
Previous | Save & Close

These are two significantly different design models.

I think if you would have started the conversation off providing this
illustration you wouldn't have received the arguments you did.

This is one of the main reasons I do more prototyping and less
documentation writing. An illustration is much clearer than words. If
we want evidence of this, then look no further than this thread.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

22 Sep 2008 - 8:54am
Anonymous

*Brett,
*
*Perhaps you missed the point.*

Todd,
Perhaps you didn't make yourself clear.

*Providing this illustration from the beginning would have saved a lot of
wasted time on this argument.*

You don't know that. Sometimes we have to go through this process to come to
the conclusion that diagrams were needed. I don't call any of this 'a lot of
wasted time'.
You didn't have to be in the conversation in the first place. All of this is
purely voluntary.

Anyways, judging by people's responses I have made a strong and justified
case which has been accepted. In all honesty, I really don't care about the
'years of research and studies'. I get way more out of these conversations
then I do from reading others people's books and attending classes.
I care more about listening to what my users are saying (I know you do too).

*Tested it how? With how many people? What's the whole story? What's the
context?*

Not even 1 of these questions matter. Even if I answered and said "I tested
it standing on my head with 10 candidates in clown suits in this kind of
context in this situation"...the fact remains that my users came to the
conclusion that I suggested from the beginning.
**
I'm not going to make a scientific case to go against 'years of scientific
research'. Most people here don't.
I'm going to be the guy listening to the person saying "Can we move this
thingy over here to make it easier to press?"

>
In all honesty I don't care about the years of research. You have your
degree and I have mine. I have learned way, way more by simply speaking to
people to get answers. If you have read my bio there are 2 things I am know
for saying:

1. Human Touch before Human Factors
2. If you want to know how your users really feel, take off the damn lab
coat and go stand in line with them.

I never once suggested that the entire field should accept what I say as you
stated in your response, but after long deliberation, I have come to the
scientific conclusion that if everyone here listens to what I say, there
won't be any problems.
I tested this.

22 Sep 2008 - 9:09am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Sep 22, 2008, at 9:54 AM, Brett Lutchman wrote:

> Providing this illustration from the beginning would have saved a
> lot of wasted time on this argument.
>
> You don't know that. Sometimes we have to go through this process to
> come to the conclusion that diagrams were needed. I don't call any
> of this 'a lot of wasted time'.
> You didn't have to be in the conversation in the first place. All of
> this is purely voluntary.

Really? Interesting how once you provided an example, the responses
were "Oh, that's what you meant. Now I get it." However, before that
point, there were a number of "I really don't see how that would work
better."

And what you described wasn't what the actual example showed. What you
described:
Next | Previous

was something that most of us know, would be counter intuitive,
confusing, and contradict what you were claiming.

However, what you showed with the illustration:
NEXT
----------------------------------------
Previous | Save & Continue

Immediately cleared up the confusion.

I'm simply recommending that in the future, you take a page from your
own recent notebook and when providing something that you clearly
think is controversial, which is what started the conversation in the
first place, provide an illustration to "illustrate" your point.

That will save a lot of confusion and time. Additionally, it's clear
your point will be made clearer and faster.

> Anyways, judging by people's responses I have made a strong and
> justified case which has been accepted.

Once the illustration was shown.

> Tested it how? With how many people? What's the whole story? What's
> the context?
>
> Not even 1 of these questions matter. Even if I answered and said "I
> tested it standing on my head with 10 candidates in clown suits in
> this kind of context in this situation"...the fact remains that my
> users came to the conclusion that I suggested from the beginning.

These are the questions that matter. Bad data in, bad data out.

> I'm not going to make a scientific case to go against 'years of
> scientific research'. Most people here don't.

And to quote you, following what everyone else does doesn't make it
right. And I'd beg to differ with you. Those of us who do credible
research actually do provide context when reporting what we found.
Just look at recent posts on Search by Christina Wodtke, and past
posts by Jared, myself, and others.

> In all honesty I don't care about the years of research.

Clearly.

> You have your degree and I have mine. I have learned way, way more
> by simply speaking to people to get answers. If you have read my bio
> there are 2 things I am know for saying:

Yes, we have our degrees. Whoopeee! I personally put more credit in
someone who balances their degree with field work, then anyone staying
in a lab, or only working in the field. It's about balancing theory
and practice. Both are critical to the design process and making the
"right" decision.

> I never once suggested that the entire field should accept what I
> say as you stated in your response, but after long deliberation, I
> have come to the scientific conclusion that if everyone here listens
> to what I say, there won't be any problems.
> I tested this.

Now, that's probably the most humble thing I think you've said to date.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

22 Sep 2008 - 9:50am
Anonymous

Todd,
thank you for your private message. No one has ever spoken to me like that
before. I am still in awe of the kind words that you wrote me. I can't
believe that you took the time to write all of that. (I'm going to show my
wife the message you wrote me.)
I apologize for being sarcastic in my responses. In my defense, I did not
mean it in an 'attacking way', but rather a 'Smart-Alec' way, (I hope that
made sense.) I had no idea of the way I was coming across.
In the future I will try to watch what I say and will also try to take
advice from my fellow peers with a better attitude.
Thank you.

22 Sep 2008 - 11:10am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Sep 22, 2008, at 10:50 AM, Brett Lutchman wrote:

> thank you for your private message.

And thus ends another episode of "As The List Churns".

Tune in next week, when we'll hear David say, "... but design is more
important than sex!"

23 Sep 2008 - 10:53am
Gustavo Gawry
2006

It looks like LukeW have been reading this thread and posted an
article with his opinion about it.
http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?730

Regards,

Gustavo Gawry
User Experience Analyst
Voice: 55 21 9498-7923
Email: gustavogawry at gmail.com
Blog: http://gawry.com (in portuguese)
Twitter: gawry

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945

23 Sep 2008 - 11:41am
Viktor Reiter
2008

I totally agree with Johan Sjöstrand. Also a good example is a book:

If you want to go further, you go to the lower right corner and if
you want to go back, you go to the lower left corner.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945

24 Sep 2008 - 6:20pm
Shaun Bergmann
2007

A fresh example of the placement of the next and previous buttons (left or
right) would be on the Ads of the World site that came up under a different
thread.

http://adsoftheworld.com/media/online/national_grid_floe

If they were tracking THIS users' mouse, they would have watched my falter,
as I went to click "next" and found "Previous" in it's place.
I think this is a good example of when it doesn't work.

On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 9:41 AM, Viktor Reiter <vikibeni at yahoo.de> wrote:

> I totally agree with Johan Sjöstrand. Also a good example is a book:
>
> If you want to go further, you go to the lower right corner and if
> you want to go back, you go to the lower left corner.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

28 Sep 2008 - 9:03pm
Cwodtke
2004

I love this article because it highlights a common fallacy: placement is
everything. Clearly, placement is part of the solution, but so are the
affordances. A strong button, a softer call out of the link... placement
can be of secondary importance is the rest of the design is coherent.

On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 8:53 AM, Gustavo Gawry <gustavogawry at gmail.com>wrote:

> It looks like LukeW have been reading this thread and posted an
> article with his opinion about it.
> http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?730
>
> Regards,
>
> Gustavo Gawry
> User Experience Analyst
> Voice: 55 21 9498-7923
> Email: gustavogawry at gmail.com
> Blog: http://gawry.com (in portuguese)
> Twitter: gawry
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=32945
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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