When ‘More’ Means Less in UI Design

Familiarity breeds contempt as the old saying goes, and as software applications get embedded in our daily routines they become quite familiar, but the unacknowledged contempt we have for these tools can rush to the surface when they are “improved” through an unwelcomed software update. So when we, as a company finally decided to catch up on the upgrade cycle of our CRM/Project Management software, contempt was in the air. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining about changes per se, I mean that’s how you improve a piece of software. What really sent me down a path was the inclusion of a little button that bears the label, “more.” It seems like a simple thing. If I see it and I click it I should get more information relating to the record I was in, however, this “more” dumps me into more records instead. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I thought this must be a bug so I chatted the company up on Twitter. Nope, the button is functioning as expected. I asked for clarification:

@MJ_Dowling Clicking ‘More’ on a task will take you to your task list with the task from notifications selected where you can explore more.

— marketcircle (@marketcircle) December 8, 2014

I see … no not really, more like I accept this inadequate response.

The silver lining? It sent me down a path of reflection. The failure here is in User Experience (UX) but what it really represents is a misdirection of UX in the form of User Expectations. I expect it to work a specific way and it does not. So I started to wonder how many “more” buttons like this are out there.

As web designers and developers we throw words on buttons all the time that may not be meeting expectations. In the end, we all need to make sure our “more” buttons don’t actually deliver less.

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Mike Dowling

Mike Dowling

Marketing consultant.