Hide vs Collapse

19 Dec 2006 - 7:30pm
4 years ago
10 replies
1767 reads
Allison Beckwith
2006

My colleague and I were talking earlier about whether to use the word
'hide' or 'collapse' for showing the simplified version of an object
on a web page. The object has three states: edit, preview, and
collapsed. We talked about using "twist-downs," as suggested in the
Closable Panels section in Designing Interfaces (Jennifer Tidwell),
but because we have three states, this doesn't really work. I am not
opposed to using an image (plus/minus, twist-downs, minimize/maximize
icons), but would prefer to find the right word to describe this action.

The words we are toying around with are:
* Hide
* Collapse
* Minimize
* Shrink

I think our problem with hide and collapse, is that they both sound
difficult to reverse. If I hide something, will I be able to find it
again? If something collapses, can it be put back together again?
Minimize seems to be the best fit, but when I think about that word I
picture minimizing a window so that it is removed from my workspace.
This doesn't quite match up with what we are trying to accomplish,
but perhaps this is still the best choice. Shrink just sounds funny
to me.

Related design patterns:
http://www.welie.com/patterns/showPattern.php?patternID=customization-
window
http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/pattern.php?pattern=collapse#

Which word do you prefer and why?

Thanks! This is my first post to the list. I am finding the
discussions to be interesting, thought-provoking, and relevant to my
work.

Allison

--
Allison Beckwith
Co-Founder & Creative Director

PLANET ARGON, LLC
Ruby on Rails Development, Consulting & Hosting

www.planetargon.com

+1 503 445 2457
+1 877 55 ARGON [toll free]
+1 815 642 4968 [fax]

Comments

20 Dec 2006 - 12:21am
Ripul Kumar
2005

If you are showing a simplified version of the object, you are showing the identification information in the "hide mode" and showing all or most information in "show mode" -- correct me if I am wrong.

"Hide" really means that everything is hidden and is difficult to find. While "Collapse" word has come from Tree View that also does not make sense -- you are not collapsing the object, you are hiding some information at this point of time.

I would try to show two parts of information -- the identification part and the detail part. I would then "show" and "hide" the detail part. It can be accomplished through the words "More" and "Less" or "Show Details" and "Hide Details."

--
Ripul Kumar
Director, Usability Consulting & Outsourcing
Kern Communications Pvt. Ltd.
http://www.kern-comm.com

* Usability in India *

20 Dec 2006 - 12:46am
VenkatVijay
2005

Guess this also can be an option

"Shy" & "Reveal"

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Ripul
Kumar
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 10:52 AM
To: Allison Beckwith; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Hide vs Collapse

If you are showing a simplified version of the object, you are showing the
identification information in the "hide mode" and showing all or most
information in "show mode" -- correct me if I am wrong.

"Hide" really means that everything is hidden and is difficult to find.
While "Collapse" word has come from Tree View that also does not make sense
-- you are not collapsing the object, you are hiding some information at
this point of time.

I would try to show two parts of information -- the identification part and
the detail part. I would then "show" and "hide" the detail part. It can be
accomplished through the words "More" and "Less" or "Show Details" and "Hide
Details."

--
Ripul Kumar
Director, Usability Consulting & Outsourcing
Kern Communications Pvt. Ltd.
http://www.kern-comm.com

* Usability in India *
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20 Dec 2006 - 1:16am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Dec 19, 2006, at 4:30 PM, Allison Beckwith wrote:

> Which word do you prefer and why?

Would "closed" work? Things that are closed can be opened again.

Dan

20 Dec 2006 - 1:47am
Mike Baxter
2004

Hi Alison

Interesting article on layered presentation of information in the recent
issue of 'Slant' from Avenue A | Razorfish:
http://slant.avenuea-razorfish.com/1206_slant/jit.pdf
More thought process than pattern but may be useful.

Also interesting that it describes this approach as a just-in-time approach
to information design - a metaphor that has value in the minds of many
business people (just in time stock control only orders stock when needed
for sale, hence reducing warehouse capacity).

Mike Baxter

Alison wrote:
My colleague and I were talking earlier about whether to use the word
'hide' or 'collapse' for showing the simplified version of an object
on a web page.

20 Dec 2006 - 9:15am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Allison,
I am including this type of functionality in my UI designs quite
often, as our applications are, shall we say, information rich, and
need methods of cleaning up the display. I prefer to use icons to
expose the feature, as they take up a minimum amount of space, but I
still label them with tooltips and in help files and documentation. I
have tried show/hide, expand/collapse, and open/close at different
times. I would say that any of the three is a safe bet. I would be
surprised if usability testing weighted one significantly more than
the others. I guess "expand/collapse" would be longer labels, so you
may want to save space with one of the other options.

Allison Beckwith wrote:

> I think our problem with hide and collapse, is that they both sound
> difficult to reverse. If I hide something, will I be able to find it
> again? If something collapses, can it be put back together again?

I see your point, but I don't believe "collapse" carries the same
connotation. If an object is made to be collapsible, you can assume
that it was also designed to be resurrected.

> Minimize seems to be the best fit, but when I think about that word I
> picture minimizing a window so that it is removed from my workspace.

I agree. This has a strong connection to Microsoft's Start bar and
window behavior.

Ripul Kumar wrote:

> "Hide" really means that everything is hidden and is difficult to
> find. While "Collapse" word has come from Tree View that also does
> not make sense -- you are not collapsing the object, you are hiding
> some information at this point of time.

I disagree. I see it as exactly the same type of action, and I
typically use the same icon in a collapsible pane of information as I
do in a tree widget. If both of these functions are a part of the
same piece of software, why use two different sets of terminology to
describe them? That's just putting an extra cognitive load on the user.

Venkat Vijay wrote:

> Guess this also can be an option
>
> "Shy" & "Reveal"

No, I don't think so. "Shy" is rarely used as a verb, and never for
this meaning. "Reveal" could be used with "hide," but "show" is more
common.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

The public is more familiar with
bad design than good design.
It is, in effect, conditioned
to prefer bad design, because
that is what it lives with.
The new becomes threatening,
the old reassuring.

- Paul Rand

20 Dec 2006 - 12:17pm
stauciuc
2006

When I read the subject line my immediate thought was: "They're the same!"
They may not be the same in real life, but they are when it comes to this
type of interaction. That's just the way they were learned, and it's just
about that half a second when you read it, and nothing further.

So basically, I agree with Jack.
Sebi

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

20 Dec 2006 - 2:21pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

Hi Allison,

I'd probably go for Show / Hide. Collapse may be precise for people with a
technical or design viewpoint, but I suspect the word reminds everyone else
of bridge failures or earthquakes.

Michael Micheletti

On 12/19/06, Allison Beckwith <allison at planetargon.com> wrote:
>
> My colleague and I were talking earlier about whether to use the word
> 'hide' or 'collapse' for showing the simplified version of an object
> on a web page.

26 Dec 2006 - 1:46pm
david gee
2004

Allison Beckwith wrote:
> My colleague and I were talking earlier about whether to use the word
> 'hide' or 'collapse' for showing the simplified version of an object
> on a web page. The object has three states: edit, preview, and
> collapsed.
>

Personally, I feel that this is one of the all-too-common situations
where there is no 100% appropriate label for the action which also
manages to be concise enough to fit into a normal UI. However, icons for
these actions are probably amongst the most commonly used in software
applications, so I usually end up opting to use small icons for the
show/hide twist-downs. This allows me to use a longer, more descriptive
text in the tooltip for the icon, such as a toggle between "Show full
details" and "Only show basic information".

In your specific case, I would use a twist down toggle in combination
with an edit icon (the ubiquitous pencil). My usual method is to place
the twist down to the left of the module header text, and the edit icon
aligned to the top-right of the module.

david gee

28 Dec 2006 - 9:50am
liyazheng
2005

Allison,

I wonder if there is a more contextual way to label this action. So when
they see the label it makes sense to them what will happen next. In the
context of how this site is used, what are they "hiding" or "collapsing"
and why?

Liya

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
David Gee
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 1:47 PM
To: Allison Beckwith
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Hide vs Collapse

Allison Beckwith wrote:
> My colleague and I were talking earlier about whether to use the word

> 'hide' or 'collapse' for showing the simplified version of an object
> on a web page. The object has three states: edit, preview, and
> collapsed.
>

Personally, I feel that this is one of the all-too-common situations
where there is no 100% appropriate label for the action which also
manages to be concise enough to fit into a normal UI. However, icons for

these actions are probably amongst the most commonly used in software
applications, so I usually end up opting to use small icons for the
show/hide twist-downs. This allows me to use a longer, more descriptive
text in the tooltip for the icon, such as a toggle between "Show full
details" and "Only show basic information".

In your specific case, I would use a twist down toggle in combination
with an edit icon (the ubiquitous pencil). My usual method is to place
the twist down to the left of the module header text, and the edit icon
aligned to the top-right of the module.

david gee

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2 Aug 2010 - 9:13am
jennycool93311
2010

Great post! I agree to Michael's point.

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