Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
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“Because something is happening here / But you don’t know what it is / Do you, Mister Jones?” - Bob Dylan
A lot of web sites & applications make you feel a bit like Mr. Jones.
That’s why we’ve pioneered the Yellow Fade Technique (YFT) in Basecamp. It’s a nifty way to subtly spotlight a recently changed area on a page.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say I want to change the name of the second post on this Basecamp page from “CEO Photo” to “Jim Messier Photo.”
First off, I’ll go to the “Edit Post” page and change the post’s title.
Once I save the change, the original page then reloads with the YFT (the yellow highlights the post I just changed). In the subsequent images, you can see how the yellow slowly fades out so it doesn’t dominate the layout forever.
Voila, the page is back to normal within seconds.
To see it in action, sign up for Basecamp (you can try it for free). There, it’s especially useful for page with lots of small items, like to-do lists and milestone pages.