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Remove Status bar or not?

I'm in the process of finishing one of my app. I realized that I don't use the status bar other than display info about the current menu or display "Ready". Yes, default MFC behaviour. The app do not have keyboard input so displaying indicators like 'INS' 'CAPS LOCK' do not have any value in our app.

I'm ready to remove the status bar but I think some user may feel that it's not a 'complete' application without it. Basically nearly all application has a status bar but 90% it's unused, but some people may expect it to be there.

What do you think?
Z
Sunday, February 26, 2006
 
 
Get rid of it. There's an interesting post on the subject here: http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/01/04/509197.aspx
John Topley Send private email
Sunday, February 26, 2006
 
 
On the other hand the status bar can be tremendously valuable compared with things like popup status dialogs the user has to waste time dismissing.  As with almost everything, the trick is in knowing when to use it and how to manage it (like clearing it when appropriate).
Jon Dinlea
Sunday, February 26, 2006
 
 
Keep it, as long as it shows something useful. A short description of a currently highlighted menu item definitely qualifies as useful.
Chris Nahr Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
Why not making it a menu option, so the user can switch it on and off?
Secure
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
"A short description of a currently highlighted menu item definitely qualifies as useful."

This is crap UI design.  We use brightly-coloured tooltips, floating beside the mouse pointer, to provide short descriptions of toolbar buttons; we use brightly-coloured tooltips, floating beside the mouse pointer, to provide short descriptions of input fields in dialog boxes... but to provide short descriptions of menu items, we use tiny black-on-grey text the OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN?!

How many users actually know to look all the way down there for the tip?  And why don't we just use the exact same tooltip functionality that we use everywhere else?
Iago
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
Because your brightly-colored tooltips are irritating as hell if you already know what you want. Interfaces can be rendered nearly unusable by obnoxious tooltips. "The other side of the screen" is an appropriate place for a help string that you only want to look at occasionally.
Chris Nahr Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
And if you're going to suggest an option for disabling tooltips, that's not a good solution either because then you'd no longer get ANY context-sensitive help.

Status bar messages are optimal: placed out of the way so that they don't interfere with GUI input, yet always available with a quick look.

Status bar hate is just the latest bandwagon, really. There's no good reason to NOT do a status bar. The very fact that they're not in-your-face intrusive makes them an extra information display that is always available without being a constant distraction.

And that's a good thing overall.
Chris Nahr Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
Did anybody actually read the blog entry by Jensen Harris (Office team) that I linked to?
John Topley Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
Sure, both when it was first posted and right now when you posted the link.

First, it's not terribly relevant -- Harris only says that the Microsoft Office team has trouble figuring out how to use the status bar. That's the same team that gave us Clippy the talking paperclip and the world's worst help system, so I'm not particularly concerned about disagreeing with them.

Second, did YOU read Jensen Harris' follow-up post?
 http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/01/05/509645.aspx

In this post, he miraculously discovers that status bars are actually useful, and announces that Office 12 applications will in fact have status bars -- just reworked ones! Quote:

"We came to the conclusion that it did make sense for the Office 12 frame to contain a status bar.  There were many "status-like" items that needed a place in the UI--document load information, printing status, long recalculation in Excel, and other background tasks."
Chris Nahr Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
Fair enough but the OP said that his/her application only uses the status bar for menu item help or to display "Ready". That definitely counts as a good reason to not do a status bar in my book. I'd rather have the screen real estate.
John Topley Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
If the OP actually can't think of anything but menu item help... okay then, as long as the menus are simple enough. Personally, though, I'm wondering why anyone would care about the screen space taken up by a status bar. That's maybe 20 vertical pixels out of what, 768 or 1024 or 1200? And it maps to perhaps one extra line of text. I just can't see why this is such a big deal.
Chris Nahr Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
 
 
"And if you're going to suggest an option for disabling tooltips, that's not a good solution either because then you'd no longer get ANY context-sensitive help."

But the choice is up to the user. Anything that has the potential to distract the user or to even get in his way should be an option. It can be enabled by default, but there must be the possibility to disable it. When I'm comfortable with the application, I don't need them anymore.

I've had an application not long ago with its tooltips running amok on my machine. They appeared immediately when the mouse entered an object, and they didn't disappear until the mouse left the object, hiding nearby options. The application would've been a perfect example for unusability - and at this time I had no choice other than to use it. Fortunately it provided an option to disable the tooltips...

Why not get the best of both worlds and simply show the tooltips texts in the status bar ìnstead when the tooltips are disabled and no other message is provided for the status bar?
Secure
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 
Sure, that's a great idea! However, it means that your application would have a status bar, which is what the person I was replying to was opposed to...
Chris Nahr Send private email
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 
Not necessarily, if you make the status bar an option that the user can disable, too. Sure, then the user won't have any help, but **it is up to the user** and not the programmer's I-know-it-better-than-you enforcement.
Secure
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 
Don't make design decisions. Just drown your users in options.

Yes, I'm being a sarcastic sob.  So what?
Dave
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 
Maybe you all ought to check this out:

http://time-tripper.com/uipatterns/Input_Hints

As for the status bar.  I prefer it simply for the size-grip area to the right which makes it easier to resize a window.

my 2 cents.
Eric (another ISV guy with his company)
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 
>  Don't make design decisions. Just drown your users in options.

Exactly. Pick a good way and do it. By having options you multiple your testing space a couple of times.

Perhaps an adjustment on how long it takes tool tips to show up would be useful.
son of parnas
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
 

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