There are several motivators affecting our behavior when we use software. And unlike we want to believe (People must be rational!), rationality is not always the dominant one. Software developers may unintentionally cause confusion and uncertainty among the users.

It was Twitter which made me confused some time ago. At the time they had just updated Twitter’s overall layout and look. It looked nice and I started using it with pleasure. I found out how to tweet, to search, to read and how to do other basic Twitter activities, but then I tried to use the retweet button. Everything looked fine; a pop-up window was opened and I accepted the retweet, but nothing seems to be happening. I did what a normal person would do and tried to do this same single retweet three more times without any success. Only after then I realized what was wrong. I’ve pressed the wrong button all the time.

There were two buttons “Cancel” on the left-hand side and “Retweet” on the right. I clicked “Cancel” four times before I finally read what it said on the button. Software developers have forced me over and over again to press the “OK” button on the left side that I’m acting like a robot whenever I see two buttons in the lower right corner. No matter that the right button was colored with bright blue!

Retweet button is blue and on the wrong side.

The ultimate goal of doing localization is to improve the user experience. Although translating the content to one’s own language is a good way to enhance the user experience, in my Twitter case the text on the buttons had a very small role. My point here is that it is not always the most crucial thing to have the right translation if people don’t read it. The whole system should be localized to match the people’s routines. In addition to written messages, also layout, colors and other visual choices guide the user. So make sure that all these elements lead the users of your software to the wanted direction.

Have you ever experienced similar things when using software?


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