What Happens When You Hide Important UI Functionality

What Happens When You Hide Important UI Functionality

Never sacrifice ease of use for visual appeal. Recently I came across a post in a UX Facebook group that I belong to giving some interesting UX advice.

Recently I came across a post in a UX Facebook group that I belong to giving some interesting UX advice. The UX Facebook groups I’m in are filled with Junior UX Designers and people who are looking to transition into the UX field.

The advice was a little bit misleading and I felt the need to address this issue that I often see in product design. I don’t want to bring attention to the post specifically but the gist of it was this:

“In order to reduce cognitive load, hide functionality from your users until they hover.”

And this is (a remade version) of the example they gave:

an example of hidden functionality until hovered on.

Let me just start by saying I do not agree with this example. While there is a time and place to add “on-hover” states, the example shown above is not the best use of hover actions.

Those buttons for editnotifications, and delete seem like important functionality that would be imperative for the user to know that it’s there. It also seems like functionality that would be used quite often.

While the example given does decrease cognitive load, it’s a bit of a trade-off because now at first glance users are unaware of the functionality available to them.

This is what I like to call “mystery functionality” which becomes a huge flaw when it comes to accessibility and usability in general.

This isn’t to say that you can’t hide any functionality, because then our interfaces would definitely look a little bit messy, but don’t hide the important and most used functionality without giving the user some indication that it’s there.

This way of reducing cognitive load really depends on the context but in this scenario, the better option would be to condense those buttons into a contextual menu that is always there. This way at least the user _knows _there are more options. See the example I put together below.

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