Show more options, but not fewer

30 Sep 2010 - 7:20am
644 reads

Looking for info on the following pattern: User opts to show more options, which switches modes to show more controls (or progressively discloses some more), but the option to go *back* to the fewer options is not given.

I think the idea being that the scenario for returning to the simpler option is a low use case, and by not offering the 'fewer' control option it is one less visual element competing with attention, and can reduce complexity when going from a complex selection to a reduced-set selection (having to resolve the fact that your complex selection is not applicable in the reduced-option mode).

I understand how this one way street seems like a bad idea (lack of "undo", although technically you can still do everything you could do *prior* to hitting 'more options'). That said, I recall experiencing it on web apps and being surprised that it only bothered me as a theory and not in actuality.

Anyone know of any field testing data that may add more color to the actual usability of this pattern (as opposed to merely my or others' gut)?

- m

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