Bad Design Evokes Confusion

Daily UX #1

By now, we have all heard the design cliches like “Less is more” and “Simple design is the best design”. In many cases, it is true. There are, however, in many cases, where a simple button can confuse users.

My Scion tC has a screen for multimedia interaction: GPS, music, calls, texts, etc. To give a quick backstory, below is a photo of the screen that ultimately triggered me to start this Daily UX series. My car is nearly perfect (in my opinion), aside from the easily-scratched black exterior, and this nightmare of an interface.

And yes, I took the initiative to text myself so I can provide an image reference for all you UX-hungry nerds.

“What’s wrong with this screen?” you might ask.

Take a look at the two buttons at the bottom.

“[Show] would mean display the entire message, right?”

Yup.

“[Cancel]…what does it cancel?”

Exactly. What does [Cancel] cancel? Are you deleting the message by cancelling it? Are you dismissing it? Are you rejecting the thought that this kind soul took 5 seconds of their time to ask you how your day is going?

There are numerous articles and studies in the wild about CTAs (call-to-actions) and text on buttons, and how to effectively present them to users. There are handfuls of different options that the designer of this interface could have used, but they chose to use [Cancel].

Now, I ask you. Which word would you have used?

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