To make things simple, designers may apply a standard “template” to all the similar scenarios. Sometimes, this “one-size-fits-all” approach may not work. For example, when you open a dropdown list, you can find only one single item. The intent of using a dropdown list is to display multiple items. However, if there is only one item, we actually don’t need a list. Simply display the item.
Here is another example I come across on an ecommerce web site. After deciding what to purchase, I am ready to pay for my items. When it comes to selecting a shopping method, this is what I see.
In the Standard shipping method, there is a “Details” link. I clicked on it, expecting to see more details. Here is what I see:
Surprised. It doesn’t tell me any more details. So I ask, “Why the link was there?” It just wastes my time.
Actually, the Details link shows the breakdown of the shipping costs if I purchase more than one item. See the picture below:
If I select Express shipping, I do see the breakdown for each of the items. However, for Standard shipping, it doesn’t matter how many items you purchase. It remains the same. If this is the case, why do we need Details for Standard shipping? It should be removed.
I believe the Details link is the default layout and applies to all shipping methods. However, if a particular option is not relevant, the designer should have it removed. Adding it there won’t enhance the user experience. And the reverse is true.
Here is another example, where the up and down arrows are not needed. There is no more text to be displayed.
The arrows are only needed when there is more text than the text box can fully display.