I swear I ran across a specific word for this recently, I believe in the context of user design, but I cannot for the life of me think what it is now.

An example might be the triangle fold on the toilet paper in a hotel bathroom, which in itself is not really important, but signals that the bathroom was likely cleaned.

It's not "meticulous" (which came up a lot as I was googling for such a word).

3 Answers 3


touch (n.)

A detail or feature, typically one that gives something a distinctive character.

the film's most inventive touch Lexico

An effective and subtle detail

applies the finishing touches to the story m-w

A touch is a detail which is added to something to improve it.

They called the event "a tribute to heroes," which was a nice touch. Collins

His handwriting and math diagrams show great care. He spent time doing them well, adding touches of artistic flair. All his life George loved beauty in things great and small; he loved careful details and planning. B. Miller; George Washington for Kids (2007)

Business cards. Go that extra mile and impress your Dutch colleagues by getting a Dutch translation of all pertinent documents, including your business card. It is not required, but a nice touch. Larry Kulchawik; Trade Shows from One Country to the Next (2015)

  • CD's also worth quoting. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 12:15
  • @EdwinAshworth Collins? (Added)
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 12:43
  • Cambridge Dictionary. But Collins gives the same sense. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 14:50

A scintilla is defined in Merriam-Webster thus:

Scintilla comes directly from Latin, where it carries the meaning of "spark" – that is, a bright flash such as you might see from a burning ember. In English, however, our use of "scintilla" is restricted to the figurative sense of "spark" – a hint or trace of something that barely suggests its presence.

But as Britannica adds, it is usually used in negative statements (negative grammatically and/or in flavour). It is also in a literary etc register.

Definitions.USLegal.com shows the term being used in a positive (sign of possible underlying quality / genuineness) sense:

The scintilla evidence rule states that if there is so much as “a mere gleam, glimmer, spark, the least particle or the smallest trace of evidence” supporting an inference, then the issue must be submitted to the jury.” [Hayes v. Luckey, 33 F. Supp. 2d 987 (N.D. Ala. 1997)]

And NYTimes_2021 has:

There was, then, still a scintilla of hope. Norway needed to beat the Netherlands, in Rotterdam, to have a chance of qualifying automatically for its first World Cup since 1998, and its first major tournament since 2000.


Something specific describing user design regarding care might be,

Token - "A token of his gratitude."

Token - Merriam-Webster

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