The very first article I posted for this blog was entitled Remember Me? in reference to a web site that inserted a new Remember Me? control into the login of their web site. I hereby declare that the phrase “Remember Me?” now references the fact that we become accustomed to GUI layouts and that designers need to Remember Us whenever they consider making changes! We — the users of their products, the reason for their existence, success, and future — need to be remembered before design changes are made. Designers: please don’t make us dislike you! We should not feel the need to ask you, “Remember Me?” each time you redesign your user interface.
Some months after that original article, I posted the new article Revisited: Remember Me where I rejoiced that the previous error had been corrected. Unfortunately, I have recently painfully discovered another instance of Remember Me?
In January of this year I posted an article entitled GUI Design: Let Me Out! where I discussed how some GUIs make it difficult to discover how to logout of their application. Figure 1 (an example that was discussed in that article) is a portion of a screen shot from Gmail® by Google®.
Note that the Sign out option is in the lower left of the popup which is displayed after clicking the account name in the title. Since the Sign out option is not available on the title bar itself, users become accustomed to clicking the account name and immediately clicking the link in the lower left when they are ready to exit.
Unfortunately, this has now changed. Figure 2 is a portion of a screen shot as this popup appears as of April 2012.
Note that where Sign out formerly existed there is now a new button for Add account. I didn’t realize how common it was for me to click the account name followed so rapidly by a click in the lower left of dialog until I had clicked the wrong control several times. And I am sure I’m not the only one!
Gmail is constantly being updated with new features, and I’m sure this is part of their strategy to get attention for new functionality. But rearranging something so common as Sign out, is nothing less than very, very unkind to a user. Hence the new application of the phrase, “Remember Me?”
Let me just repeat KEY DESIGN POINT #3 from that original Remember Me? article:
- Don’t ever insert a new control in a way that disrupts a user’s accustomed operations.