When an object looks like it might let you do something, such as click it or drag it, we say it “affords” performing that action. Here’s some specific design advice:
- Follow conventions whenever possible. Reuse UI concepts and controls that people already know;
- Use pseudo-3D shading and drop shadows to make things look “raised”;
- When the mouse pointer hovers over items that can be clicked or dragged, turn the pointer into something different, such as a finger or a hand;
- Use tool tips, or some other descriptive text, to tell the user what the objects under the mouse pointer do. If you don’t need them, that’s great - you have a self-describing design - but many users expect tool tips anyway.
cited from Jenifer Tidwell’s book “Designing Interfaces,2nd Edition”