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Designing Mobile Interfaces by Eric Berkman, Steven Hoober

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Chapter 6. Drilldown

Get Ready to Push!

Driving cross-country in your car can be quite exciting—whether you’re stopping in small, quaint towns that are hardly noticeable on a map, flying down coastal highways with perilous views below, or enjoying the endless horizons of the plains. However, that state of happiness usually breaks immediately when you notice the low-fuel status icon has now appeared in your gas gauge.

This icon’s design creates more user mental load than necessary. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you haven’t seen a gas station or fuel information sign in miles, and now, on top of your uneasiness, you must calculate and predict how far you can go without running out of gas, you’re wondering:

  • Did this status light just come on?

  • Or has it been on for several miles?

  • How many miles am I going to have to walk to find a gas station after I run out of gas?

  • Do I have the appropriate walking shoes?

What you really need is the ability to quickly access additional related information.

Iconic labeling allows you to add information and selection methods directly to graphical or visualized data elements. The user knows what the interesting stuff is on the page, can tell the difference between the various types of information, and has an accurate expectation of what will happen if he selects an item. Even if the element opens additional details, hints of the data are presented contextually and invite users to find other features without exploration.
Figure 6-1. Iconic labeling allows you to add information and selection methods directly to graphical or visualized data elements. The user knows what the interesting stuff is on the page, can tell the difference between the various types of information, and has an accurate expectation of what will happen if he selects an item. Even if the element opens additional details, hints of the data are presented ...

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