Can anyone point me to research about hiding interface elements?
10 Feb 2010 - 11:01am
5 years ago
A project that I am involved in has raised an interesting debate about
reducing clutter in an interface.
Specifically, one side believes that it is ok to completely hide some
interface elements and only reveal them on rollover. I don't mean
disable or dim them in a normal state and then make them obviously
available on a rollover state, I mean make them magically appear out
of nowhere when the user mouses over a specific area. Of course, the
thinking is that placement should be intuitive, kind of like the user
would be moving their mouse around thinking "if I were a button that
did X, I would want to be here..." and then the element would
The argument is that while the functionality is completely hidden and
needs to be discovered, it only needs to be found once. The advantage
is that you reduce the amount of visual clutter.
I'm opposed to the idea. I don't like forcing my users to hunt and
peck around an application to learn what it does. The "they only
have to find it once" belief feels like a crutch. An elegantly
designed interface can be both immediately usable and pleasing to
look at. One shouldn't be sacrificed for the other.
For the life of me, though I can't find statistics to back up my
instinct. I'd rather have some hard facts about the subject.
Does anyone know of any studies or articles that address this?