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October 25, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Harris Poll navigation

HarrispollonlineJeff Chausse writes in:

I was invited by Harris Poll to fill out an online satisfaction survey, run by Harris Interactive

It's a typical multi-page survey, but the "Next" button is on the lower left corner of the screen and the "Back" button is on the lower right corner of the screen -  the survey would be easier to use if the locations of the navigation buttons were switched.


Broken - I would've clicked the bottom right button for 'next'!

Posted by: chuichi at October 25, 2006 04:43 AM

If you look at the second question it says that you must select only one answer, but you can only select one of the ages. Why would you want to select two different ages anyway?

Posted by: sitruc at October 25, 2006 07:18 AM

I also like the fact that they say : BEST describes your age. Like if numbers could not be precise enough to give an actual answer to an age ...

Posted by: Gerrard Iaroos at October 25, 2006 08:10 AM

I would like to note one thing about this survey that is not broken: the progress bar.

So few surveys tell you where in the process you are. It's a good thing to tell users they've completed x% of the survey, with y% remaining.

Posted by: mmcwatters at October 25, 2006 08:17 AM

As someone who's been using HarrisPoll for a few years, this actually hasn't been a problem. It's nice to have the buttons right near where you mouse already is. However, I admit, it is counter-intuitive.

Posted by: mussorgsky112 at October 25, 2006 09:03 AM

I agree with mussorgsky112. The Next button is under the buttons. I think they sid to pick one choice because the buttons are checkboxes, not radio buttons.

Posted by: Sean Z. at October 25, 2006 11:07 AM

Having the next button below the choices does make it a lot easier to get to it quickly. A better approach would have been to put the 'back' button somewhere that didn't infer a positional relationship, such as the top-right corner.

Posted by: fluffy at October 25, 2006 12:09 PM

so.. what exactly is broken about this?

The buttons clearly say next and back, and even have arrows for you, plus the next button is right below where your mouse already is.

So you had to actually pay attention and read what is written on the page, or at least notice that there are arrows there to help you... which is broken, the site for doing that, or you for not paying attention? My vote is for the people who don't pay attention.

Posted by: Memnon at October 25, 2006 01:12 PM

Think about virtually every installation dialog or "wizard" you've encountered-- "Back" is on the left and "Next" is on the right, because as fluffy mentioned, it implies a positional relationship. Backward and forward. At the least, this will confuse people because the Back/Next wizard positioning is familiar to them, and this breaks that model.

Posted by: insertnamehere at October 25, 2006 01:27 PM

This is a good user experience. Imagine of the two buttons were reversed... I'd be CURSING the programmer who was making me mouse ALL the way across the page to click 'next' each time.

Posted by: ww at October 25, 2006 06:41 PM

While I agree this isn't terribly broken, I can't back Memnon's reasoning, "...or you for not paying attention."

Many things have actions which we take for granted without thinking about. Light switches are up for on, down for off; steering wheels go left for left, right for right; zippers go down for off, up for on.

And, 'next,' in western culture, is usually to the right of 'back.' Asking users to read it is just lazy. Why not put it where a vast majority will tend to move their mouse? I guarantee if you sat in labs, you'd see most people assume the button on the right is next without reading the text. Just like the buttons below this box are in the proper order (preview on the left, post on the right).

So, it may not be overly broken, but it could certainly be better, and any reason not to make it better is just broken.

Posted by: mmcwatters at October 25, 2006 11:37 PM

Memnon: It's the UI designer's *JOB* to make sure that the user doesn't have to pay attention to the interface and can instead concentrate on the content.

Posted by: LKM at October 26, 2006 03:14 AM

Maybe the person that coded that site was "Cross-Eyed" and thought "Right was Left and Left was Right"...


Posted by: Keith L. Dick at October 26, 2006 03:22 AM

While a "next" button is traditionally to the right of a "back" button, I don't think the layout is broken on this site. The next button/arrow is immediately below the questions, making it far more accessible. The back button/arrow is further away, since it is a much less frequently used button. The order would only be important if the two buttons were next to one another.

Posted by: Nick at October 26, 2006 11:34 AM

A visual for what some of the others here have already said...

Posted by: Cid73 at October 27, 2006 03:11 PM

MMcwatters said:

"Many things have actions which we take for granted without thinking about. Light switches are up for on, down for off; steering wheels go left for left, right for right; zippers go down for off, up for on."

Are you honestly trying to compare seeing a next/back in a web page from knowing your right from your left, or your up from your down?

And personally, I don't care which direction the switch is, if the light is off, I just switch it to whatever it wasn't at to turn the light on, there is really no expectation that the switch will be in any position.

I think your comparisons are broken...

you also said:

"Asking users to read it is just lazy."

Are you serious? Do you often go clicking on buttons on web pages without reading what it says, or at least seeing that there is an arrow showing you what the button probably does? If you do, please let me know, I'll code a 'special' page just for you, with buttons that do very interesting things when you press them without paying attention to what you are clicking on.

Posted by: Memnon at October 27, 2006 08:43 PM

Memnon wrote:

>Do you often go clicking on

>buttons on web pages without

>reading what it says

Yes, and so do you. Everyone does it. You don't even notice that you do it, until something goes wrong.

Posted by: LKM at October 30, 2006 07:38 AM

You can't select more than one age, it says "select only one" but it probably won't let you select more than one radio button. Also, maybe it should be Enter to go forward and Backspace or Alt+LeftArrow to go back.

Posted by: zzo38 at November 5, 2006 11:36 PM

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