One of the most flumoxing issues I encounter when reviewing design work is misplaced interface objects.
When you craft a sentence, you’d never think to write something like “Fluorescent, she picked a red.” Somewhere or another you learned that — unless the lady in question was glowing faintly — “fluorescent” should be placed next to “red” to modify it.
Yet over and over I’ll see a design where a filter or an undo button is off in a corner, far from the thing it is supposed to filtering or undoing. I’ll hear a designer say, “well users can be trained.”
But think about that sentence again… you were able to guess the red was fluorescent, but it stopped you in your tracks, didn’t it? Design’s job is to disappear into the pleasure of use.
Next time you review a design, consider treating interface objects as if they were verbs (or adverbs) and figure out what word they affect. Then read your sentence out loud and see if it makes sense!