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.NET GUI Standards

Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.
Nov 22 '05 #1
16 1746
try this:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...et0_update.asp

"Steph" wrote:
Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.

Nov 22 '05 #2
There isn't any. MS doesn't give a shit.

Look IE, Windows, and Office - there is no standard and one isn't planned.

Look at the command line. There are programs following Dos CLI conventions, Unix, NT, some really wierd ones like netsh, and there are more really wierd ones in the works.

The windows team has a book called The Windows User Experience which is a half hearted and pathetic attempt to have guidelines. And IE and Office and all other MS divisions, incl Windows ignore it.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en...html/ch00a.asp

For more of me ranting on this subject to a MS programmer see
http://weblogs.asp.net/oldnewthing/a...12/241228.aspx
--
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.uscricket.com
"Allan[MCSD]" <Al*******@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:C1**********************************@microsof t.com...
try this:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...et0_update.asp

"Steph" wrote:
Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.

Nov 22 '05 #3
st*********@hotmail.com (Steph) wrote in message news:<5e************************@posting.google.co m>...
Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.


Any particular reason why good design practice should be different for dot Net?
Nov 22 '05 #4
Thanks.
Can this book be bought as a hardcopy?
The name of the book I saw is:

"The Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design" / Microsoft Press

ISBN 1-55615-679-0
Dan.

"David Candy" <da***@mvps.org> wrote in message news:<O1**************@TK2MSFTNGP14.phx.gbl>...
There isn't any. MS doesn't give a shit.

Look IE, Windows, and Office - there is no standard and one isn't
planned.

Look at the command line. There are programs following Dos CLI
conventions, Unix, NT, some really wierd ones like netsh, and there are
more really wierd ones in the works.

The windows team has a book called The Windows User Experience which is
a half hearted and pathetic attempt to have guidelines. And IE and
Office and all other MS divisions, incl Windows ignore it.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en...html/ch00a.asp

For more of me ranting on this subject to a MS programmer see
http://weblogs.asp.net/oldnewthing/a...12/241228.aspx
--
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.uscricket.com
"Allan[MCSD]" <Al*******@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:C1**********************************@microsof t.com...
try this:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...y/en-us/dnguin
et/html/drguinet0 update.asp

"Steph" wrote:
Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.

Nov 22 '05 #5
The Windows User Experience is available in paperback as a search of google have told you .
page 2 on that link woould have told you or
--
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.uscricket.com
"Steph" <st*********@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:5e*************************@posting.google.co m...
Thanks.
Can this book be bought as a hardcopy?
The name of the book I saw is:

"The Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design" / Microsoft Press

ISBN 1-55615-679-0


Dan.

"David Candy" <da***@mvps.org> wrote in message news:<O1**************@TK2MSFTNGP14.phx.gbl>...
There isn't any. MS doesn't give a shit.

Look IE, Windows, and Office - there is no standard and one isn't
planned.

Look at the command line. There are programs following Dos CLI
conventions, Unix, NT, some really wierd ones like netsh, and there are
more really wierd ones in the works.

The windows team has a book called The Windows User Experience which is
a half hearted and pathetic attempt to have guidelines. And IE and
Office and all other MS divisions, incl Windows ignore it.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en...html/ch00a.asp

For more of me ranting on this subject to a MS programmer see
http://weblogs.asp.net/oldnewthing/a...12/241228.aspx
--
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.uscricket.com
"Allan[MCSD]" <Al*******@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:C1**********************************@microsof t.com...
> try this:
>
>

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...y/en-us/dnguin
et/html/drguinet0 update.asp
>
> "Steph" wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>> I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
>> (online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
>> color scheme, mouse etc.
>> I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.
>>
>> Any idea?
>>
>> Thx,
>> Steph.
>>

Nov 22 '05 #6
loaded question -- assume you mean GUI and not overall design standards?

GUI is governed by your typical user base and how much time/money you want
to put into the interface, there is no "real standard"

If the application is for a low responsibility job such as store clerk then
your interface would most like be VERY different than if your application's
typical user is a Doctor or Mechanical Engineer. Classic example, the X
(close) is right next to maximize which is right next to minimize buttons on
your standard XP (or any Windows interface) -- this is perhaps the worst
possible GUI design I've seen that has somehow managed to survive 20 years.
Humans make mistakes and to have a Close button 3 pixels away from a
maximize buttons ensures that many users will be closing their window when
they want to be maximizing their window -- can you smell the frustration.
For an interface for a store clerk, I'd remove the buttons completely, for
an interface for Doctors or users that have a good PC back ground I'd leave
the buttons there only because they are now "familiar" (not because it is a
good design).

So as you can see, the best "standard" to apply to an interface is common
sense and know your intended audience/user. DO NOT use current MS Windows
interfaces as a guideline -- just about every interface that comes out of
Microsoft is horrible!! IMHO, the best interfaces are the ones that don't
get in the way -- customizable interfaces are nice, but the reality is that
90% of the users don't know and/or don't care about customizable interface,
so set your defaults based on your primary target.

Also keep in mind that 80% of the populate avoid computers for many reasons,
but one major reason is they are "too complex". Part of this problem is the
fact that there are just too many options immediately presented to a user
and they have no clue what to do or where to start. Most user don't want to
"explore" their interface, they just want to get something done as quickly
and easily as possible. If you want to look at a good interface that
targets a wide range of users, the Turbo Tax interface is a great place to
start -- still a little "busy" IMHO, but light years better than many
interfaces I've seen.

Rob.

"wooks" <wo****@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:88**************************@posting.google.c om...
st*********@hotmail.com (Steph) wrote in message
news:<5e************************@posting.google.co m>...
Hi,
I wonder where I can find a reference/manual about .NET GUI Standards
(online or a book). All general rules, do and don't do, controls,
color scheme, mouse etc.
I once so a book about these kind of topics for windows 95.

Any idea?

Thx,
Steph.


Any particular reason why good design practice should be different for dot
Net?

Jun 8 '06 #7
> I'd leave the buttons there only because they are now "familiar" (not
because it is a good design).
[...]
DO NOT use current MS Windows interfaces as a guideline


Familiar! Well, that's exactly the reason I follow MS guidlines:
- I use XP Style
- I use standard designs, e.g. three buttons at the top right
- I use MDI with a close button below the main windows close buttons
- I use the same menus (File/Open, File/Close, Tools/Options...)

In my opinion, good design is self explanatory and uses standards (MS IS
a de-facto standard; if good or bad is another thing).

Some additional tips:
- Organize your windows forms, so that they are really logic
- Try to make nice interfaces (avoid grey or dark colors in large
backgrounds, ...)
- Provide Tooltips where appropriate
- Invest money in a designer for icons or use a library from the
internet (but not the cheap-looking free ones)
- Make a startup screen
- Avoid unnecessary user interactions (e.g. if a list of items changes
every minute, try to automatically refresh it in a background thread
without interrupting the users work compared to letting the user click
on some kind of refresh button all the time...)
- Be you own (critical) customer! If you like the workflow of working
with the program, your users also will!

Just keep in mind: All the user-interface stuff makes your program
a success or not... user are keen on nice looking stuff (well, they
often spend their hole day in front of the same form!).

hth
Markus
Jun 8 '06 #8
Markus,

I completely disagree with you. Perhaps your user audience has "accepted
the way it has been handed to them" but the universe of different user
audiences is vast and the solutions to build a customizable interface
doesn't solve the real issues of how human's interact with a PC.

Your statement "Be you own (critical) customer! If you like the workflow of
working with the program, your users also will!" is the assumption many
developers use because they think they know best. This assumption is
absolutely NOT a good way to develop an interface. You should ALWAYS pass
your interface thru real users -- preferably users from your intended
audience (again if you have the time and money).

I have taken several interface design courses and attended many lectures and
have listened and watched my audience/users react to the UI's I've presented
them. Every lecture I've attended the key speaker has almost immediately
dismissed the current XP style interface as NON-USER friendly (for a host of
valid reasons). The biggest mistake a developer can make is "oh that's just
a stupid user" -- there is always something to be learned from even the most
non-technical user all the way up to the most technical.

UI does NOT make or break a product, but it certainly can help avoid a lot
of support issues. I've seem some horrible interfaces, but what the product
can do at it's heart can overcome the lack of a good interface.

As far as colors, good luck, I've not met two users that like the same
colors and many users really don't care about color at all while other's
live by the colors. If your audience is the type that will want
configurable colors then provide a default skin and then offer other skins
or customizable skins, but do NOT make this feature a "key" selling point --
let the user find the customizability if they want to, but don't force it on
them with toolbars full of customization icons that are immediately in their
face. Keep it clean, keep is simple, make good use of intelligent defaults
geared towards your intended audience.

Rob.
"Markus" <di***************@THISyahoo.de> wrote in message
news:Oj**************@TK2MSFTNGP03.phx.gbl...
I'd leave the buttons there only because they are now "familiar" (not
because it is a good design).
[...]
DO NOT use current MS Windows interfaces as a guideline


Familiar! Well, that's exactly the reason I follow MS guidlines:
- I use XP Style
- I use standard designs, e.g. three buttons at the top right
- I use MDI with a close button below the main windows close buttons
- I use the same menus (File/Open, File/Close, Tools/Options...)

In my opinion, good design is self explanatory and uses standards (MS IS a
de-facto standard; if good or bad is another thing).

Some additional tips:
- Organize your windows forms, so that they are really logic
- Try to make nice interfaces (avoid grey or dark colors in large
backgrounds, ...)
- Provide Tooltips where appropriate
- Invest money in a designer for icons or use a library from the
internet (but not the cheap-looking free ones)
- Make a startup screen
- Avoid unnecessary user interactions (e.g. if a list of items changes
every minute, try to automatically refresh it in a background thread
without interrupting the users work compared to letting the user click
on some kind of refresh button all the time...)
- Be you own (critical) customer! If you like the workflow of working
with the program, your users also will!

Just keep in mind: All the user-interface stuff makes your program
a success or not... user are keen on nice looking stuff (well, they
often spend their hole day in front of the same form!).

hth
Markus

Jun 8 '06 #9
Rob,

to build a customizable interface doesn't solve the real issues of
how human's interact with a PC.
Your right, it can just support!

Your statement "Be you own (critical) customer! If you like the
workflow of working with the program, your users also will!" is the
assumption many developers use because they think they know best.
This assumption is absolutely NOT a good way to develop an interface.
You should ALWAYS pass your interface thru real users -- preferably
users from your intended audience (again if you have the time and
money).
Correct, but before giving it to the user you should play around with
the program and ask the following questions:
- Is the user interface logical?
- Does it support the user to achieve his tasks?
- Things, users often do: Are they more easily accessible than others?
- Are all settings saved (when leaving the application). Users don't
want to click the same 5 buttons every time they start the
application.

Every lecture I've attended the key speaker has almost immediately
dismissed the current XP style interface as NON-USER friendly (for a
host of valid reasons).
Right. But with XP (or general Windows Style) I add also things like
Shortcuts etc.
If you press Ctrl+S, I want the current document to be saved, with
Ctrl+P to be printed, no matter what program it is... or e.g. when a
document is not saved an can be (accidently or not) closed, then the
user should be presented with a message "Document not saved, do you
really want to close?" -> "Yes/No". This leads me to another example:
Dialog-Boxes (sometimes they cannot be avoided): They should always
state a clear question and then offer either Yes/No or Ok/Cancel,
depending on the question... (there are some Microsoft-Jokes around
about misleading DialogBoxes).

The biggest mistake a developer can make is "oh that's just a stupid
user" -- there is always something to be learned from even the most
non-technical user all the way up to the most technical.
Fully agree.

UI does NOT make or break a product, but it certainly can help avoid
a lot of support issues. I've seem some horrible interfaces, but
what the product can do at it's heart can overcome the lack of a good
interface.
That's exactly what I wanted to tell with my previous post (sorry, I
didn't really get to the point).

As far as colors, good luck, I've not met two users that like the
same colors and many users really don't care about color at all while
other's live by the colors.
Well, assume a Cancel-Button is green and a refresh-button is read...
nearly everyone would fail using this program ;-)

If your audience is the type that will want configurable colors then
provide a default skin and then offer other skins or customizable
skins, but do NOT make this feature a "key" selling point -- let the
user find the customizability if they want to, but don't force it on
them with toolbars full of customization icons that are immediately
in their face.
No, skins and full customizations make it only complicated (if targeting
to a beginner audience)...

Keep it clean, keep is simple, make good use of intelligent defaults
geared towards your intended audience.


Exactly!
Final statement: I think, we have nearly the same opinion concerning the
final goal (--> "making the user interface a support to the user"). We
might disagree on how to achieve this... However, most of all I think,
that both of us might create reasonable user interface, as we are
thinking of them... a lot of programmers don't really care about user
interfaces, and that leads to problem in acceptance and usability.
Markus
Jun 8 '06 #10
I agree with some of your points, but again it really does depend on your
target audience. For example, I've coded interfaces where my target user
could NOT tell me where or what Ctrl key is, let alone hold down Ctrl while
they find the P key to print a doc.

Some interfaces I've done are "step" driven, one task at a time because
that's what worked best for the target user -- present them with an MDI
sytle interface they're overwhelmed before they even start. Some I've done
are more MS office like because that is what the target user most expected
and wanted. I've done everything from touch screen interfaces with giant
size controls/buttons to simple command line type interfaces -- the target
user really decides and that's why you build code independant of the
interface so that the interface can be quickly and easily disposed,
modified, or reworked to match how the target user's work.

Rob.
"Markus" <di***************@THISyahoo.de> wrote in message
news:ue**************@TK2MSFTNGP04.phx.gbl...
Rob,

to build a customizable interface doesn't solve the real issues of
how human's interact with a PC.


Your right, it can just support!

Your statement "Be you own (critical) customer! If you like the
workflow of working with the program, your users also will!" is the
assumption many developers use because they think they know best.
This assumption is absolutely NOT a good way to develop an interface.
You should ALWAYS pass your interface thru real users -- preferably
users from your intended audience (again if you have the time and
money).


Correct, but before giving it to the user you should play around with
the program and ask the following questions:
- Is the user interface logical?
- Does it support the user to achieve his tasks?
- Things, users often do: Are they more easily accessible than others?
- Are all settings saved (when leaving the application). Users don't
want to click the same 5 buttons every time they start the
application.

Every lecture I've attended the key speaker has almost immediately
dismissed the current XP style interface as NON-USER friendly (for a
host of valid reasons).


Right. But with XP (or general Windows Style) I add also things like
Shortcuts etc.
If you press Ctrl+S, I want the current document to be saved, with
Ctrl+P to be printed, no matter what program it is... or e.g. when a
document is not saved an can be (accidently or not) closed, then the
user should be presented with a message "Document not saved, do you
really want to close?" -> "Yes/No". This leads me to another example:
Dialog-Boxes (sometimes they cannot be avoided): They should always
state a clear question and then offer either Yes/No or Ok/Cancel,
depending on the question... (there are some Microsoft-Jokes around
about misleading DialogBoxes).

The biggest mistake a developer can make is "oh that's just a stupid
user" -- there is always something to be learned from even the most
non-technical user all the way up to the most technical.


Fully agree.

UI does NOT make or break a product, but it certainly can help avoid
a lot of support issues. I've seem some horrible interfaces, but
what the product can do at it's heart can overcome the lack of a good
interface.


That's exactly what I wanted to tell with my previous post (sorry, I
didn't really get to the point).

As far as colors, good luck, I've not met two users that like the
same colors and many users really don't care about color at all while
other's live by the colors.


Well, assume a Cancel-Button is green and a refresh-button is read...
nearly everyone would fail using this program ;-)

If your audience is the type that will want configurable colors then
provide a default skin and then offer other skins or customizable
skins, but do NOT make this feature a "key" selling point -- let the
user find the customizability if they want to, but don't force it on
them with toolbars full of customization icons that are immediately
in their face.


No, skins and full customizations make it only complicated (if targeting
to a beginner audience)...

Keep it clean, keep is simple, make good use of intelligent defaults
geared towards your intended audience.


Exactly!
Final statement: I think, we have nearly the same opinion concerning the
final goal (--> "making the user interface a support to the user"). We
might disagree on how to achieve this... However, most of all I think,
that both of us might create reasonable user interface, as we are
thinking of them... a lot of programmers don't really care about user
interfaces, and that leads to problem in acceptance and usability.
Markus

Jun 8 '06 #11
Markus wrote:
- Try to make nice interfaces (avoid grey or dark colors in large
backgrounds, ...)
Colors is a totally different issue. Those must be considered from several
different points of view: things must be readable, not just nice or odd
(forget about green letters on the background that's pink/magenta), the
colors must also be considered for the people with color perception defects.
And the last, but not least, the nice stuff must be done when things have
already been done and work, not before that or instead of that.
- Provide Tooltips where appropriate
- Invest money in a designer for icons or use a library from the
internet (but not the cheap-looking free ones)
Expensive-looking may be just as bad. Honestly, when I look at the items in
the windows xp's control panel, I can hardly find things by their icons. I
never remember how the "add or remove programs" and "regional settings" look
like. There're so many similarly looking boxes, circles, spheres, globes, it
really is hard to find quickly the one you want.
- Make a startup screen


Shouldn't be there unless for some odd reason the application starts too
slow (is too big or does something for a while before it can get any user
input). Maybe it should appear conditionally (e.g. if the startup is taking
more than 0.5-1 second, show it and better with some progress bar, actually
that applies not only to the startup screen but to any operation that under
some rare but normal circumstances may take significantly longer than
usually).

Alex

Jun 9 '06 #12
Rob R. Ainscough wrote:
Classic example, the X (close) is right next to maximize which is
right next to minimize buttons on your standard XP (or any Windows
interface) -- this is perhaps the worst possible GUI design I've seen
that has somehow managed to survive 20 years. Humans make mistakes
and to have a Close button 3 pixels away from a maximize buttons
ensures that many users will be closing their window when they want
to be maximizing their window -- can you smell the frustration. For
an interface for a store clerk, I'd remove the buttons completely,
for an interface for Doctors or users that have a good PC back ground
I'd leave the buttons there only because they are now "familiar" (not
because it is a good design).

I avoid using the mouse as much as I can and that particular problem usually
doesn't come close to me. I treat all software incapable of being controlled
from the keyboard deliberately broken. Having to constantly move the hands
from the keyboard to the mouse and back is plain wrong.

However, there's another thing which bites often and the mouse users keep it
alive... From time to time some crappy software (or is it the UI bug?)
manages to loose the focus and to actually do some keyboard input the window
should be clicked on or switched to by Alt+Tab again. Another scenario is
when another application starts up and steals the focus and then may even
disappear with it. I don't know how, but if possible I'd rather keep track
of the events and switch the focus to the new window only if that was caused
by the user's input or if impossible would never do that at all (well, maybe
with selective exceptions for the always-on-top windows).

Adding extra menu items below Close/Exit is also bad. Example: windows xp's
help that you open by F1 and then hit Alt+Space. I've been taught that
Close/Exit was the last one. Well, not anymore.

Alex

Jun 9 '06 #13
Markus wrote:
....
- Is the user interface logical?
Like "find message" under "edit" in outlook express :)
Or like the sudden fact that the outlook rules don't actually move the
incoming messages, they copy them and to fix that you need to do something
subtle like putting a checkmark on "stop processing more rules". Or like
having some of the outlook windows modal and being unable to look at an
email that just came without first closing that modal window.
- Does it support the user to achieve his tasks?
Or like having the entire UI stalled for a while if you click on a link in
e-mail or in HTML page and either it takes time to open or the link is
broken...
- Things, users often do: Are they more easily accessible than others?
The key point here is the boundary between the often and the rare. Who does
decide what's often or what's more important? We all have different usage
patterns, mine would be very different from those of an average user. Should
I and what I do be treated wrong or less valuable just because I don't
really fit into the average pattern?
- Are all settings saved (when leaving the application). Users don't
want to click the same 5 buttons every time they start the
application.
Adobe can't get this one and many others right in such a primitive
application as Acrobat Reader. Its UI and behavior has sucked for many
years.
If you want to piss of an engineer, give him the docs and specs in PDFs and
have him use Acrobat Reader.
Every lecture I've attended the key speaker has almost immediately
dismissed the current XP style interface as NON-USER friendly (for a
host of valid reasons).


Right. But with XP (or general Windows Style) I add also things like
Shortcuts etc.
If you press Ctrl+S, I want the current document to be saved, with
Ctrl+P to be printed, no matter what program it is... or e.g. when a
document is not saved an can be (accidently or not) closed, then the
user should be presented with a message "Document not saved, do you
really want to close?" -> "Yes/No". This leads me to another example:
Dialog-Boxes (sometimes they cannot be avoided): They should always
state a clear question and then offer either Yes/No or Ok/Cancel,
depending on the question... (there are some Microsoft-Jokes around
about misleading DialogBoxes).


You mentioned Ctrl+S in say Word. If you speak and use more than one
language (not just English), then Ctrl+S works in Word with either keyboard
input layout/language (at least works for me in Russian just as well).
However, the hot keys in the menus such as the ones with
minimize,maximize,restore,move items that almost all windows have, the hot
keys in there are localized and can't be changed. To me that was the only
reason why I dumped my Windows XP Pro Russian in favor of Windows XP Pro
English. I just happen to be writing a lot more with some latin keyboard
layout.
If you speak more than 2 languages, you should also notice the asymmetry in
the switching between languages/layouts and applications. Alt+Tab lets you
switch in 1 stroke between the two most recently used applications.
Alt/Ctrl+Shift changes the language cyclically through the entire list of
those you've installed. Moving through that cycle can be done in both
directions using left or right key pairs but that means you must still
remember something about the keyboard just to swtich between the two most
recently used languages and not all of them.

.... No, skins and full customizations make it only complicated (if
targeting to a beginner audience)...


The point is... The application must be designed in a way to support very
well these two opposite cases: beginners and advanced users. Limiting it too
much will piss off the latter. Exposing everything and requiring too much
attention or knowledge will frighten the former. If it can't satisfy both at
the same time, have 2 UIs or have 1 UI with 2 default settings (simple and
advanced) that can be fine-grain configured by the user between those two
opposite defaults.

I think I'd like to control the way the task bar orders, groups and sizes
the items. I'd like it to be configurable and work differently for different
applications, not the same for all. They don't mean anything to the task
bar, but they do to me. That's what's important.

Alex

Jun 9 '06 #14
>> - Things, users often do: Are they more easily accessible than
others?
The key point here is the boundary between the often and the rare.
Who does decide what's often or what's more important? We all have
different usage patterns, mine would be very different from those of
an average user. Should I and what I do be treated wrong or less
valuable just because I don't really fit into the average pattern?


Macromedia Flash has one interesting solution: At the beginning, you
define, if you are a designer, animator or programmer. Depending on the
selection the UI configures appropriately (e.g. designer has large
design surface and hidden script-fields, programmer has small preview
screen and large script-field)... so, what I want to say: The end user
has to tell the application, in which pattern he/she falls, or it might
be done automatically when the user's login belongs to a certain group,
whereas the most important tasks are configured on a per group basis...

The point is... The application must be designed in a way to support
very well these two opposite cases: beginners and advanced users.
Limiting it too much will piss off the latter. Exposing everything
and requiring too much attention or knowledge will frighten the
former. If it can't satisfy both at the same time, have 2 UIs or have
1 UI with 2 default settings (simple and advanced) that can be
fine-grain configured by the user between those two opposite
defaults.


Agree, this is a good starting point and issues most of the users.
Markus
Jun 9 '06 #15
>> - Try to make nice interfaces (avoid grey or dark colors in large
backgrounds, ...)
Colors is a totally different issue. Those must be considered from
several different points of view: things must be readable, not just nice
or odd (forget about green letters on the background that's
pink/magenta), the colors must also be considered for the people with
color perception defects. And the last, but not least, the nice stuff
must be done when things have already been done and work, not before
that or instead of that.


Correct, with nice I don't want to classify blue as nice color and pink
as bad color... but generally spoken, when looking (not doing anything,
just looking) at programs of the microsoft office suite, most users (as
I think) will classify them at "nice". look at some standard java-swing
user interface with a strange dark-gray background, most will prefer the
colored office way.

Expensive-looking may be just as bad. Honestly, when I look at the items
in the windows xp's control panel, I can hardly find things by their
icons. I never remember how the "add or remove programs" and "regional
settings" look like. There're so many similarly looking boxes, circles,
spheres, globes, it really is hard to find quickly the one you want.


Well, I think windows has the big problem, that most icons evolved from
the past... they would have to redesign the complete icons to get an
overall similar look and feel.
But let's take the rss-Icon. The mozilla foundation designed it, it got
a de-facto standard, and now, microsoft and opera are going to use this
icon for their browsers. I think, browsers are now getting closer
(Standardized RSS-Icon, green refresh button, red stop button, blue or
green arrows for forward/backward). So users won't really care which
browser they use, they will feel comfortable with all of them (when
using basic tasks).

- Make a startup screen


Shouldn't be there unless for some odd reason the application starts too
slow (is too big or does something for a while before it can get any
user input). Maybe it should appear conditionally (e.g. if the startup
is taking more than 0.5-1 second, show it and better with some progress
bar, actually that applies not only to the startup screen but to any
operation that under some rare but normal circumstances may take
significantly longer than usually).


Agree. Or, as I do, I use it as a login-form in the same time (start the
startup-screen, present the login form, and while the user is typing in
his password, the rest of the application gets loaded in another
thread)... but for small applications (here I fullly agree), a fast
startup is important, thus avoiding the startup-screen is better.
Markus
Jun 9 '06 #16
Alexei,

Depends on the who the interface is for -- graphics designers, games users
would make heavy usage of the mouse -- again the point being, be aware of
the intended target user. The interface design should NOT be dictated by
what the developer likes or thinks is "best", your average user will dictate
the design and you can decide on whether or not customization of the
interface is needed/justified. The developers job is to present initial
ideas, but from that point on the developer really becomes a slave to how
the users works.

I'd like to see the keyboard vanish in the future, but PC processing power
isn't good enough yet to be 99.9999% accurate for voice recognition nor an
OS intelligent enough to understand context switch of voice recognition --
so the keyboard lives on. But that is much more in the future, when
OS/hardware has progressed enough so that more than just 20% of the
population will have computers.

"Alexei A. Frounze" <al*****@chat.ru> wrote in message
news:hc******************************@comcast.com. ..
Rob R. Ainscough wrote:
Classic example, the X (close) is right next to maximize which is
right next to minimize buttons on your standard XP (or any Windows
interface) -- this is perhaps the worst possible GUI design I've seen
that has somehow managed to survive 20 years. Humans make mistakes
and to have a Close button 3 pixels away from a maximize buttons
ensures that many users will be closing their window when they want
to be maximizing their window -- can you smell the frustration. For
an interface for a store clerk, I'd remove the buttons completely,
for an interface for Doctors or users that have a good PC back ground
I'd leave the buttons there only because they are now "familiar" (not
because it is a good design).

I avoid using the mouse as much as I can and that particular problem
usually doesn't come close to me. I treat all software incapable of being
controlled from the keyboard deliberately broken. Having to constantly
move the hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back is plain wrong.

However, there's another thing which bites often and the mouse users keep
it alive... From time to time some crappy software (or is it the UI bug?)
manages to loose the focus and to actually do some keyboard input the
window should be clicked on or switched to by Alt+Tab again. Another
scenario is when another application starts up and steals the focus and
then may even disappear with it. I don't know how, but if possible I'd
rather keep track of the events and switch the focus to the new window
only if that was caused by the user's input or if impossible would never
do that at all (well, maybe with selective exceptions for the
always-on-top windows).

Adding extra menu items below Close/Exit is also bad. Example: windows
xp's help that you open by F1 and then hit Alt+Space. I've been taught
that Close/Exit was the last one. Well, not anymore.

Alex

Jun 9 '06 #17

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