Papp - Action button placement - Article

Smart Mobile - Research

Published on January 6, 2016


Marco Lemmens

Wouter Noij


To find out the most logical action-button positions, we created a simple online simulation of Papp, with various cases. With analytics, we can see how people react to the cases, and which buttons they intuitively choose.
Also, we have taken an interview with someone who has a great amount of knowledge about industrial design.

Expert interview - Mark de Graaf

Domain manager
TUe Industrial Design Engineering
2001 – September 2012

When talking about user experience you have to give the users the best usability. There are three main factors at hand when talking about this issue.

First of and foremost, the effectiveness. What this means is that the user gets what he wants to do. For example getting your cup of coffee from a machine. Simply put, does it work?

The second main element when creating the best usability is the efficiency. What process is the user going through when wanting to achieve his or her goals? Simply put, is it easy?

The third and last key element is the satisfaction of the usability. Is the experience going smooth and is it as naturally expected. To reach the user with these three points is a hard job to do. To make the gap between user and good experience is something experts do by using storytelling. This technique is done with almost every great brand or product all over the world. How to make something more unforgettable or less boring other than a great story to go with it.

All these factors are very hard to get right for every individual person. All people are different and every story or experience will be unique. When we think about this app, the situation that the user is in will change the user experience. A great simple example of this difference is when buying a hot cup of chocolate milk in the summer or an ice-cream cone in the winter. Something tells us that this just doesn’t happen. Our surroundings change our behavior.
So with all these input of different things in order to make an unforgettable experience we have to give the users something of all that.

Usertest results

To check out the usertest, follow this link:
Click here

The user test is divided in three categories:
  • Compose a new message
  • Your messages
  • Others messages
These three categories are tested with 5 simple navigation cases. These questions are taken in the most logical order to simulate a real life scenario.

In the screen shots below, you can see the given answers and the correct answer based on the outer color of the magnifying glass.

New message

In the screen shot on the left, you see that 33% of the people click on the right area to compose a new message. 22.4% of the people click wrong, and the other 44.6% have left the page without continuing the test.

Your messages (inbox)

Again, you can see that these results are quite impressive. Most people click right the first time, on the top-right button. 4% of the people left during this screen.

Others messages (world view)

As you can see, everyone who came this far clicked on the right button. This might has something to do with the order of the questions. When the user knows what all of the other buttons mean, they can fill in the rest. This proves that after one or two clicks, the user instantly suspects the action of the other buttons.

Color differentiation

One of the things we did to help our users navigate within the app, was the use of multiple color for multiple categories.
Red: Your messages
Blue: Others messages
This color differentiation can be used as a explanation for the result above.

There is one case in particular with less promising results.
We asked the people to navigate to the route of someone else's plane, with the following result.

When only 57% of the people click on the right button, in a 2-button screen, something is wrong. Because the "view route" button is not optimally displayed as an action button, people might overlook it.

The conclusion that can be made out of this user test, is the intuitiveness of our app. It's not a shame if a user touches the wrong button in our app, as long as they get it after no more then 2-3 clicks. Also, a lot can be learned from something as simple as as percentage:
Is the difference clear?
Is the button prominently?
Do users get lost in the app?

All of these questions are necessary to answer in result of a good navigation.